Socioeconomic Data For Understanding Your Regional Economy: A User's Guide

JUST RELEASED: This 96-page guide to finding and using socioeconomic data to analyze local and regional economies is now available in print and on the Web. Written in an easy-to-use, informal style, the User's Guide offers you practical advice on a wide range of data topics, drawn from the experience of analysts nationwide.

I want it now: The User's Guide is available on-line in Adobe's .pdf format.

I want a hard copy: A limited number of hard copies of this publication are available free. E-mail your request, with name, organization, and mailing address, to Mr. John McNamee, Director of Research and National Technical Assistance, Economic Development Administration. Funding for this publication and for the EconData.Net website have been provided by the generous support of the Economic Development Administration of the U. S. Department of Commerce.

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On-Line Sources of Regional Socioeconomic Data

Economic development decisions are supposed to be based on good data analysis. But a dirty little secret of economic development is that no one teaches us much of anything about what data are available, how to get them, and what to do with them. When it comes to data, most of us have to muddle our way as best we can.

Socioeconomic Data for Understanding Your Regional Economy: A User's Guide aims to address this problem. Just published by the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the User's Guide is a comprehensive and easy-to-use reference for both novices and experienced data users to find and use economic statistics. Written by Joe Cortright of Impresa and Andrew Reamer of Andrew Reamer & Associates, the User's Guide draws on careful studies and a nationwide survey of how analysts actually use data on the job. The work is one product of an EDA-funded effort to see that the data needs of state, regional and local economic analysts are better met.

For those new to data analysis, the User's Guide starts with the basics, explaining the fundamental tools that every analyst needs to do a good job. The heart of the User's Guide is a thorough, plainly written explanation of the principal data series used for analyzing the performance and structure of local economies, on topics such as population, income and earnings, employment and unemployment, cost of living, and exports. For each series, the Guide lists specific measures, time periods available, geographic detail, the methods of collection, means to access the data electronically and in print, and staff contacts. In addition, the User's Guide provides overviews of key statistical agencies, points you to data intermediaries who can help you get the data you need, discusses approaches to using data, provides references for further self-education, and lists key data sources to put in your library or access on-line. Throughout the User's Guide, you'll find Internet addresses for a wide variety of on-line data sources.


Part One: The Basics
1. Tools of the Trade
2. Data Sources: Where the Numbers Come From
3. Statistics for Analyzyzing Your Economy
4. Data Intermediaries: Guides in the Statistical Jungle

Part Two: Lessons of Practice
5. Ten Habits of Highly Effective Data Analysts
6. Bookshelf Basics for Economic Analysts
7. The Web's Twelve Best Sources for Regional Data
8. Seven Pitfalls of Data Analysis
9. Advanced Analysis: Power Tools for Data



For those of you coming to this page from the EDA Web site, EconData.Net is the companion resource to the User's Guide, and provides hyperlinks to over 125 public, university, and private sources on the Web. Access to on-line data is provided to the various series mentioned in the User's Guide, as well as many others. EDA is providing funding for the design and maintenance of the site, which will be revamped in the coming months. You can reach EconData.Net at

Fine print: This page copyright ŠImpresa and Andrew Reamer & Associates, 1999. If you have any questions, contact us via email.
Last revised March 30, 1999.