3/31/2010 3:11:30 PM By
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a new statistical brief out on the recessionary job impact on firms of different sizes
. It's a really thoughtful piece looking at trends over the last two recessions and certainly appears to show the differential impact of this current recession on small businesses as compared to the previous recession which impacted large businesses much more. What I found most interesting was the following paragraph:
During the current recession, gross job gains reached a historic low in the BED series, with gross job gains for all firms dropping to an all-time low of 4,517,000 in the first quarter of 2009. This series minimum is reflected in all nine size classes. Gross job losses, however, have not yet reached the highest levels seen in the 1990 or 2001 recession. It appears that not only increasing gross job losses, but also decreasing gross job gains, particularly at small firms, are present in the current recession.
So as much as layoffs have been at all-time highs, its really the lack of hiring which appears to make the current recession standout in the BLS data.
12/3/2009 9:00:00 AM By
I was reminded last week of some work I had done a couple of months back which looked at COBRA health insurance. The reminder came from a posting the Bureau of Economic Analysis did to clarify its treatment of COBRA payments in the national accounts
My earlier work was to comment on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Current Population Survey module on displaced workers
. I had earlier posted draft comments but received some great input from a colleague, Margo Quiriconi, on that draft so here are my final comments submitted to BLS
. What amazed me in reviewing this module was that in the midst of a national debate on health insurance and the Great Recession that BLS hadn't taken more care to revise the module. Set to go to the field in January in the exact same form it was fielded two years ago no one seems to be worried about measuring really important aspects of health insurance in the displaced worker population like COBRA insurance
or where people displaced from their job in this Great Recession are receiving their health insurance (if they are). At this point, it is too late to change anything for this module, but it is, in my opinion, a real missed opportunity to collect relevant and meaningful information on an important population. This could be a great module to someday finally answer the question about health care job lock by looking at people who are displaced but had access to health insurance through another source and whether that effects one way or the other their propensity to start a business.
11/27/2009 3:00:00 PM By
11/5/2009 2:46:08 PM By
We (and I mean the big we, not just Kauffman) are obsessed with jobs right now, and rightfully so. While the economy appears to be turning a corner, unemployment continues at stubbornly high rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) should be out with updated unemployment statistics
within the next few days but several private sector reports on jobs came through more positive (see Wall Street Journal article for a good summary of these statistics
At Kauffman, we have been digging into jobs data over the last couple of months thanks to some special tabulations from the Census Bureau. Today, Kauffman released the first white paper
in a series which will attempt to make sense of these tabulations as well as a host of other data becoming available from BLS, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and Eurostat. The current paper attempts to make the point that young firms (many of which are small) not just small businesses, generally, are the most active net job creators in the United States. Haltiwanger, Jarmin, and Miranda
find similar things in a working paper analysis using similar data sources.
8/11/2009 10:28:06 AM By
Alicia Robb, Denny Dennis, and I did a Professional Development Workshop at the Academy of Management
a couple of days ago. Here I am posting the slides from that workshop, which focused on data available for entrepreneurship research, along with notes from my comments at the event, which I had not put into slides.
Alicia Robb, Kauffman Foundation and University of California, Santa Cruz
Denny Dennis, NFIB
E.J. Reedy, Kauffman Foundation
Additionally, at the meeting, hard copies of the proceedings of the 2007 Kauffman Symposium on Entrepreneurship and Innovation Data
were handed out. Additional copies were requested by some but electronic versions of each paper are available on line
. The 2008 proceedings
, which focused on ideas for improving data are also available.
And lastly, we highlighted a few ways in which scholars could connect with Kauffman and other scholars in this area. There is this blog, Data Maven
, for tracking data developments. On Facebook, join the Kauffman Entrepreneurship Scholars group
. Subscribe to entrepreneurship emails from Social Science Research Network
. Or participate in Kauffman's emerging scholars programs
7/23/2009 9:42:12 AM By
One of the first questions when doing a national business survey is the question of what businesses to use as the population for the survey. This is one which many organizations, like ourselves, struggle with in an ongoing basis. While we are a private organization, and as such, could not hope of getting the "gold standard" of frames, a government business register, even with the United States government and within the European Union directorates, few agencies are able to access Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or Internal Revenue Service pr similar business lists for the purposes of carrying out surveys. As such, federal agencies and private organizations like Kauffman are forced to go down a different route to obtain business lists which can, if not carefully considered, impact the overall quality of the research. But beyond this, an additional cost is born by taxpayers, businesses, and others more generally, because when using a non-governmental register of businesses, it becomes much more complicated to match survey responses to other administrative data. With this, we end up with a lot of independent surveys, few of which can actually be matched together, causing the surveys to be longer than really necessary and knowledge gained about different issues to be stymied. There are a host of privacy issues here which I am not going to address, but anyone seriously concerned with this topic should look at that topic separately.
Private organizations have popped up to provide these lists, some that are specific to different industries, such as Corptech
, which claims to cover high-tech businesses, while others like Dunn and Bradstreet
report to provide full industry coverage on the national level with international coverages that are very country-specific. And even companies like Dunn and Bradstreet allow others to repackage and sell their data, such as what Don Walls does with the NETS database
But how do these different lists compare to federal government lists? Private companies provide the data in a much quicker fashion and I would say the general consensus is that this benefit is offset by more messiness in the data. While some messiness is involved in any data set, as researchers are increasingly using micro data sets and not just aggregated tabulations, non-random messiness can become a problem. Many of these companies didn't start collecting this data for research purposes but more for marketing or credit checks. As the Internet has blown up, and companies have come to realize the value in some of this data, more products have appeared over time. Some work was done in the 1990s by entrepreneurship scholars to test the coverage of the private sources, but the reality is that not much has been done, to my knowledge, in at least ten years looking at a systematic comparison of advantages and disadvantages of some of these business registers. From conversations with others about the NETS database, as an example, we know that the last ten years have brought about a lot of changes in the population of businesses these private companies are able to find and include in their registers. This can create new opportunities but also real challenges for researchers looking to use the longitudinal component of these data.
I am aware of at least two projects that are underway in this arena that might be able to provide insights into some of the different private business registers (as well as governmental business registers). The first, and it appears furthest along of the projects, is comparing Census data to InfoUSA. I will be attending the 2009 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Washington, DC, in August and hope to attend the session at which this comparison will be presented
. The second project which I have heard alluded to several times is that Census is matching the California file of businesses from NETS to its business register to study similarities and differences. Both of these efforts should be informative to researchers and I will try to follow-up with additional details of the outcomes of this research in future posts. At the JSM, other register issues will be discussed including some international examples such as that of Finland
. Nordic countries, by most accounts, have the most robust registers so that might be an interesting section. If other projects are underway that are comparing private and governmental registers, I would appreciate an email
7/2/2009 4:00:00 AM By
A month or so ago I blogged on some really exciting proposed changes to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (see overview blog and earlier draft comments). Well, we have finalized and sent our final letter to BLS on the NLSY changes so I wanted to post our final thoughts. I am sure BLS would welcome additional letters and comments on their proposed changes. Thanks to those who provided some comments, namely Rob Fairlie and the experts at Mathematica.
BLS Attachment 2
6/10/2009 3:05:39 PM By
A couple of weeks ago I called for comment on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' proposed new entrepreneurship questions in their next round of questions for the National Youth Longitudinal Survey 1979. Since that time we have been engaged in a review ourselves and with Mathematica Policy Research, our survey vendor for the Kauffman Firm Survey. As the deadline for comments is quickly approaching, I will be sending this by the close of business Thursday. In the meantime, in the spirit of openness, I am posting a draft letter and attachments here. We remain open to other ideas from scholars or individuals with survey research experience on this population.
BLS.pdf (90.09 kb)
BLS attachment 1.pdf (106.66 kb)
BLS attachment 2.pdf (59.93 kb)
5/20/2009 7:21:00 AM By
This week the Bureau of Labor Statistics added two new data series to their umbrella data effort, the Business Employment Dynamics (BED). BED is built from records that BLS gathers from states as a part of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. In releasing these two new series, BLS is further expanding its offerings related to births and deaths by industry and by state, as well as annual measures of gross job gains and losses at the establishment level. These are concepts which BLS has conceptualized in recent research papers:
Read more about the BLS BED augmentations.
5/4/2009 10:11:00 AM By
We have just received very exciting news about a proposed change to one of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most important surveys - the National Youth Longitudinal Survey. The 1979 version of this study follows "a nationally representative sample of 12,686 young men and women who were 14-22 years old when they were first surveyed in 1979. These individuals were interviewed annually through 1994 and are currently interviewed on a biennial basis."
Currently, NYLS79 is getting ready to go back to the field on round 24 of surveys with this same group and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a call for comment on their work to the federal regsiter. The Bureau has highlighted the following changes in the current wave of work as compared to previous questionnaire documents:
The round 24 questionnaire reflects a number of content changes recommended by experts in various social science fields. The round 24 main NLSY79 questionnaire includes a more extensive set of questions about volunteer activity and monetary donations to charitable organizations. The round 24 survey also will include retrospective questions on business ownership. This new section augments information previously collected in the survey by asking how many businesses respondents have owned since age 18 and collecting detailed information on the characteristics of up to ten businesses. Questions on estate planning and wills will be asked in round 24 to augment information previously obtained on health, asset accumulation, and retirement plans. Round 24 includes a series of questions on mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures. The questions cover the period since January 2007 and ask respondents whether they had been more than two months behind on mortgage payments, received a foreclosure notice, or lost property due to foreclosure. Round 24 includes a short series of questions on whether respondents were offered stock options by their employer, whether the option was offered before the respondent accepted the job, whether the option affected the respondent’s decision to take the job, whether the option is tied to work performance, and whether the respondent has exercised or plans to exercise the option. Questions on assets will not be asked in this round. It was determined after Round 19 that an extended series of questions on assets is not necessary every survey round. The questions on political involvement included in Round 23 are not included for Round 24.
I am so excited by a couple of sentences here that I just wanted to reitterate the passage:
The round 24 survey also will include retrospective questions on business ownership. This new section augments information previously collected in the survey by asking how many businesses respondents have owned since age 18 and collecting detailed information on the characteristics of up to ten businesses.
If this isn't great news and a wonderful opportunity for the entrepreneurship research community, I don't know what would be. But, today, I also want to put out the challenge to researchers and those with experience in doing surveys with similiar populations looking at retrospective recall of business ownership activities and other important topics to send your ideas (or just your congratulations) to BLS and OMB before June 15, 2009.
We will be formulating comments and a letter, which I will post to the blog before sending. If anyone is sending comments and wants to share them, we would welcome the opportunity to second ideas which we agreed with in our letter.
Draft Questionnaire for round 24
nyls.html (3.20 mb)
Questionnaire from Round 23