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The State of Working America

My copy of the Economic Policy Institute's biennial State of Working America has arrived.

This always reminds me that when I worked on Capitol Hill, I used to have a reputation in my office as "the guy who can always find the statistic you need." It was a totally out-of-character and undeserved reputation for me to have, since I'm not at all quantitative, know barely anything about Statistics, and have no memory at all for numbers.

My secret was that I had a copy of The State of Working America. That and the Statistical Abstract of the United States covered just about every question that was likely to bubble up. The genius of Larry Mishel, Jared Bernstein, and their co-authors looked like my own.

All this material is on the web now, but it's the rare thing that's still easier to find in a book, if you know the book. I'd like to see someone create a google just for statistics, so that you can put in a query like, "Annual percentage change in child poverty rates, 1999-2004, U.S. and Europe," and it would find just the data, whether it comes from a government source or a report or whatever, and possibly even filter it to match the query. Until then, books like The State of Working America are indispensable.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on February 14, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

As either Jesse of pandagon or Ezra of ex-pandagon has pointed out, this is the sort of thing where the internets [sic] is not much better and sometimes worse at producing information than something akin to an almanac. The statistically-inclined front office of the Oakland A's monitors most of their targeted minor league personnel with big fat dead-tree books of stats.

Posted by: niq | Feb 14, 2005 7:46:22 PM

Wow, nice to know. I've built up an almost identical undeserved reputation for being knowledgeable about telecom networking issues based on having a copy of Newton's Telecom Dictionary: http://www.harrynewton.com/

Simply a very informative book, and not just on tech issues either. It's funny to boot. Sample definition:

Journalism
The last refuge of the vaguely talented.

Posted by: bling | Feb 15, 2005 7:31:12 PM

Mark--
This is a page with links to lots of statistics sources on the Society of American Business Editors & Writers:
http://www.sabew.org/sabewweb.nsf/x/38563EE7817EC5FA86256AE00049B4A7?OpenDocument&highlight=COVERING,THE,ECONOMY

Posted by: ozoid | Feb 16, 2005 2:46:59 AM