11/19/2010 6:33:30 AM By
Thursday new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics's Business Employment Dynamics program was published covering the U.S. economy through the first quarter of 2010
. It's quite a puzzling picture that it paints overall and for looking at entrepreneurship specifically.
First, BLS finds that from December 2009 to March 2010 the gross job losses in the U.S. economy hit their lowest point on record for this particular time series. This means, that the 6.4 million private sector job losses in the quarter were lower than any other quarter since 1992. When looking at gross losses as a percentage of total employment in the economy, total losses, along with each of its components - losses in contracting establishments and losses from closing establishments - hit or tied series lows. Taking both of these things together then it seems the mass layoffs and closings of the previous couple of years might have peaked - something we can find much reason to celebrate.
But, this severe downturn in downturns is not mirrored by increases in hirings. Indeed at the same time, the gross job gains from opening establishments hit its second lowest point (by percentage) on record and its lowest numerical point. This means that opening establishments in this period only contributed a little more than 1.1 million jobs to the economy, down from 1.9 million jobs in 2000.
I will be spending a lot of time with this data in the coming couple of months along with expected data from the Census Bureau's Business Dynamics Series. Obviously there is a lot of important information to be garnered here.
11/19/2010 4:00:00 AM By
The New York Times
had an interesting piece this week on huge number of small business owners entering Congress
. They attributed all the data to "The Agenda" but I cannot for the life of me figure out who this group is. I thought I'd throw this up in case others are aware of good sources for data on the backgrounds of Congressional members, particularly related to entrepreneurship and innovation?
11/18/2010 6:21:52 AM By
The OECD has a new statistical brief
out on entrepreneurship that focuses heavily on timely indicators of entrepreneurial activity. While these new indicators are not fully comparable across countries, the OECD focuses on the within country changes that have occurred recently.
Number of New Enterprises, 2006=100
The report has many other things from the OECD's core indicators which now have several years of time series data, but most of the interest will fall on the timely data. This downturn seems to have affected negatively most employer business entries in different countries. Because of the tightening of credit markets associated with the recent recessions, this isn't entirely surprising but is significant because this and the World Bank's recent data
are the most concrete measures of new, larger business entries across countries. Neither report looks at self-employment. I know that Legatum also has a new Prosperity Index
out but I haven't been able to review it yet.
I don't think the OECD has it's new country-level data posted on its website yet, but academics interested in that data should watch as it should be updated at any time. A more detailed publication with the data will follow in the spring 2011.
11/15/2010 2:00:00 AM By
Research using intellectual property administrative records continues to advance at a brisk pace with some really exciting new developments. I'll give a couple of updates from very different strands of activity that I am aware of. I doubt I am doing anyone full justice in my summaries, but hopefully you will explore further!
Most interestingly from my perspective are some of the work happening at the OECD and other venues which is trying to bring trademark and copyright filings into the discussion. Patent data have been the dominant source for researchers for some time, largely due to its easy availability and efforts by folks like NBER to make new versions of the data easily available. While still very early, this work has potential to open up new means of using these other types of IP to understand innovations which might not be as technical but more process oriented. I saw some of this work presented last week at the OECD as an update to this working paper
but there appears to be a lot of other opportunities to look into this topic
. Now, since trademarks are more common they appear to be even more messy than patents when it comes to attempting to do matches, etc. Thus, I am still cautious in my reading of some of these findings because the match rates are not strong and some of the data which the OECD is matching too is least representative or accurate for small and new businesses. We want more types of businesses in our samples than just those that patent but things get complicated quickly once doing so. It will take some time for scholars to figure out good means of making sense of some of this chaos.
I am booked with other activities during Global Entrepreneurship Week, but if I weren't I'd love to attend "Patent Statistics for Decision Makers 2010
." Interesting agenda which seems to offer a broad overview of some leading areas of patent-based research from the U.S., European Union, and others. The last year has seen the proliferation of economists within patent offices. I think this will be a good thing. Indeed, the U.S. PTO snagged one of our best academics - Stuart Graham (read background docs on their emerging research strategy
) - to be their first Chief Economist and I learned last week the United Kingdom has also hired someone. So, seems to be the potential for a lot of change in this area if only because new ideas and resources are flowing in.
Lastly, I want to point to some work from Grid Thoma
(and others I am not entirely positive). It's a new dataset on patenting firms in USPTO and EPO/PCT that has been disclosed for research purposes. This dataset covers the whole population of patent documents and allows a user to query directly the patenters in the business directories and link it with other complementary information such as firms demographics, financial statement, ownership information, etc. The dataset is accompanied by an extensive paper describing originating dataset, methodology, and software code used to create it. More information on data and paper can be found at www.epip.eu/datacentre.php
. With so many versions of patent data proliferating out there, I would love feedback from users of some of these data as to their strengths and weaknesses.
11/5/2010 6:02:18 AM By
Hats off to Andrew Reamer at Brookings for another great advocacy piece on the U.S. federal statistical system. "Putting America to Work: The Essential Role of Federal Labor Market Statistics"
is a call-to-action for policy makers to create a labor market statistical system which actually tracks labor needs, educational attainment, and other supply and demand issues in a more comprehensive and real-time manner. It is time that we stopped obscuring the inequalities and the failures (and successes) of our education system through a hamstrung statistical system. For too long we have operated blindly with regard to our labor inputs and outputs and Andrew has many concrete recommendations for bringing these measures together. I wanted to call my readers' attention to a section where Andrew talks about some innovations occurring currently:
Local Employment Dynamics: LED links and analyzes millions of workforce administrative records, particularly establishment and employee wage records from state unemployment insurance systems. An experimental program for a decade, Congress approved permanent status for the program in 2009. With annual funding of $14 million, LED is in the first of a three-year expansion plan. LED’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators analyzes workforce dynamics such as hires, fires, turnover, and wage levels by geography (state, metro, county, workforce investment board) and demographic characteristics (age, sex). OnTheMap visualizes the relation- ship between where people work and reside. A third product, a job-to-job flows tool, will show how defined groups of workers (e.g., in a particular industry and geography, with particular demographic characteristics) move through the economy over time. LED is close to having 50-state coverage. Over the next two years, with proper funding, it plans to add worker characteristics of occupation, educational attainment, race, and ethnicity.
Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems: Statewide longitudinal data systems are NCES-supported, state-managed efforts that track individual progress through formal education programs (pre-kindergarten to postsecondary) and into the workforce. Forty- one states and DC have received NCES grants, totaling $515 million since FY2006. NCES and ETA are encouraging the matching of worker job, wage, and training history with academic history. The Census Bureau’s LED offers the potential to link education data with workforce outcomes across state lines. A complete set of 51 SLDS that link education and workforce microdata would greatly aid understanding of educational program outcomes and career path patterns and so inform student choices of careers and schools, employer choice of workers, educational program design, and public policies.
Real-Time LMI: Using $4 million in Recovery Act funds, ETA is supporting an eight-state consortium’s development of an innova- tive real-time LMI project for green jobs in the Northeast. Through use of intelligent software, job ads on the web are regularly “scraped” and analyzed to collect current and trend information about job vacancies by geography, occupation, industry, required levels of education and experience, and earnings levels. The information is auto-coded (into standard occupational and industry coding structures) and parsed (to categorize and understand the meaning of the words/phrases contained in the ads). The tech- nology eliminates the time lag between data collection and data production common to most publicly-produced data sources. Real-time LMI will enable vacancy rate estimation, six- and 12-month projections of occupational demand, and better under- standing of the demand for and supply of community college certificates and industry certifications. If successful, and with proper funding, real-time LMI technology could be applied to all regions and occupations.