The American celebration of Thanksgiving has become a four-pronged event. We gather as
- family and friends who
- watch parades and football,
- eat turkey (and 'must have' sides) and
- probably do spend at least a moment or two actually giving thanks for the bounty in our lives…despite these economic tough times.
We'll be no different. Two dozen family around the table, a big TV for the games, with everybody bringing something to the feast. With that guaranteed, here's a data-lover's list I'm thankful for.
The US government has four operations I value. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, various Federal Reserve sites and US Census. BLS is the best with a host of easy to use one-screen data production offerings. BEA comes in second, perhaps only because I tend to use it less. The regional Fed sites give economic insights from the bright people who work there.
Census has a raft of data, but the site's problematic. American FactFinder's new version is nasty. The saving grace for Census is probably its data ferrett system and research help by telephone (h/t Tiffany most recently). So they are still on my list to be thankful for.
Colorado state government has two operations that deserve an attaboy. The state demographer's office is simply wonderful for data overviews and easy access. The state labor department has come far from its paper publications of past decades, and they show you employment trends. I used to like the Insurance Commissioner for insurance costs and consumer helps, but I don't use them much anymore.
Local universities have good stuff: CU Boulder Leeds, UNC and DU. Snoop around to find what you want. All three could boost traffic with homepage quick links to their data news and offerings.
There are also Pew's (people-press.org and pewresearch.org) depthy studies, and Real Clear Politics' polling compilations (and links onward to pollsters' findings and Sean Trende's offerings). Don't ignore Huffpo's Pollster with Mark Blumenthal. Commentators Nate Silver, John Sides and the gang, Jay Cost and the ubiqutious Michael Barone belong on the list. Resurgentrepublic.com, pos.org, battleground poll (Tarrance and Lake Research Partners) and Democracy Corps (backed by gqrr.com) round out the list. And there are others.
To them all, God bless and happy Thanksgiving. You give us data to affirm or overturn our opinions.