Common Misconceptions About Government Statistics

Common Misconceptions About Government Statistics
July 22nd, 2008 · No Comments · Subscribe to this feed
Misconception: The CPI does not include food or energy prices.

Yes it does. There are many different CPI indices used for different purposes. There is one, the CPI Core index, that excludes food, energy, and other volatile products to make it easier to see short-term inflation trends, but this is by no means the only or even primary CPI index. People often get the idea that the Core Inflation index is the “official” or only inflation index due to its common citation in the media and Federal Reserve, but nothing could be further from the truth. The broadest and most widely-used CPI index, the CPI-U, includes both food and energy prices.

Misconception: Official Unemployment numbers are artificially low because they only count those who apply for unemployment benefits. When benefits run out, those people are no longer counted.

Unemployment number may very well be artificially low (the birth-death model isn’t exactly a model of precision), but it’s not because the BLS only counts those collecting unemployment benefits. This misconception is so widespread, the BLS actually addresses it specifically in its FAQ on how the government measures unemployment:

“…Some people think that to get these figures on unemployment the Government uses the number of persons filing claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits under State or Federal Government programs…”

They go on to explain how the number is actually produced, saying

“Because unemployment insurance records relate only to persons who have applied for such benefits, and since it is impractical to actually count every unemployed person each month, the Government conducts a monthly sample survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS) to measure the extent of unemployment in the country.”

Misconception: Social Security will run out of money in 2017/2040/whatever

Well, maybe, but it’s not extremely likely. According to The Atlantic Online

“Actually, Social Security projections are based on extremely pessimistic economic assumptions: that growth will average just 1.8 percent over the next twenty years, a lower rate than in any comparable period in U.S. history…These projections are genuinely a worst-case scenario.”

While I personally agree that social security should be reformed, I don’t think the situation is as dire as you hear in the media. It’s their job to stir the pot and create news, not tell you everything will be ok.

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SEO Firm: Make Your Website Popular

One major technique, which helps in driving traffic to one?s site, is search engine optimization. By hiring a reliable SEO firm, one can easily achieve his goal. The competition is so fierce that if the site deserves to be on top, there is lot of work to be done. One can get the desired results only by taking the help of the firm. One can be assured that by handing over the work to a good firm, one can get the best results. The strategies adopted by a good firm provide long lasting results.

The professionals working in SEO firm prepare a list of approved keywords, which people are looking for. It is these keywords that drive traffic to one?s site. It is mainly because of the keywords and the content written in the articles that makes the site popular. The main objective behind taking the services of SEO firm is to reach to the target audience so that they can become aware of its existence. One must remember that not everyone can promote and optimize a website. One needs to hire professionals for this purpose. Now days, if a business does not have a website, then it is harder to reach the target audience. With the help of a website, one can reach far and wide.

It is important that the content written in the article is well-written, informative and relevant to the target audience. In order to enhance the navigation, the design and layout of the website must be user friendly. The professionals, who work in SEO firm help the website to have higher visibility so that more traffic is drawn to the website and the target audience becomes the potential customers. By availing the services of this firm, the business website can gain recognition which it deserves. By flaunting a website, one can always showcase his products, services or ideas to the people.

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Ron Paul Delegates Forced out of Republican Convention

Ron Paul Delegates Forced out of Republican Convention

At the Nueces County Republican party convention, March 29th, in Corpus Christ Texas, Ron Paul supporters walked out in protest and held their own emergency convention in the parking lot. Republican party Chairperson Mike Bertuzzi grossly violated party rules by announcing new delegates to the morning’s roll call who were never elected as precinct delegates on the night of the Republican primary, then again by ignoring repeated objections by party delegates, which he is required to recognize..

Mr. Bertuzzi claims that he avoided a ‘party takeover’ by unruly Ron Paul supporters, but a recently released audio tape of the event clearly shows otherwise. As a blatant violation of convention rules is underway by the Chairperson, many delegates can be heard rising to voice objections with no avail until a local man, Paul Hunt , is escorted out by the Sergeant at Arms..

CORPUS CHRISTI — Nueces County Republican Chairman Mike Bertuzzi survived a potential convention takeover.

At the group’s county convention Saturday, a man began causing a scene while committees were making reports. Republican county conventions nominate delegates for the state convention based upon the ratio decided in the March 4 primaries.

“We were able to stop that and take care of business,” Bertuzzi said. “I don’t know what their purpose was. They claim they were Ron Paul supporters. I can’t imagine Ron Paul would put people up to this.”

Paul, a U.S. representative from Texas and presidential candidate, is far behind presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain. The scene at the Nueces County convention appeared to be part of a larger effort by Paul supporters to gain delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Kansas City Star reported his supporters took over a county convention there March 17 and elected 170 of 187 delegates.

Bertuzzi, who chaired the meeting, said he did not recognize the group to speak and some members were escorted out by the sergeant at arms. Then about 40 members of the faction convened in another room in what’s known as a “rump convention.”

Rump conventions are a separate meeting conducted by a group that feels it has been disenfranchised. Participants can form their own committees and elect their own delegates, then send a report to the state party, which then decides which convention to recognize from that county.

Bertuzzi said he knew about the potential takeover attempt and how to handle it. A successful takeover of a Nueces County convention in 1988 split the party for years, he said.

“There was no way when I’m chairman that I’m going to let that happen,” he said.

About 200 people stayed in the original convention, and 184 were elected to state. Bertuzzi said he expects the other faction to challenge his delegate status at the state convention.

Drusilla Knight-Villarreal, who organized this convention, was county chairwoman during the 1988 takeover. She described the scene Saturday as chaotic.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “And I’ve been involved my entire life.”

Contact Denise Malan at 886-4334 or maland@caller.com

Home Based Business Ideas

Lots of business ideas for anyone who dreams of starting your own business and working from the comfort of your bathroom, bedroom, back porch, etc.

You Know What We Need Around Here…
Do you ever find yourself looking for something you can’t seem to find, thinking that surely somebody must have a business that does xyz? Chances are, other people wish that business existed too. If you can’t find somebody who does xyz, maybe you should be the one to start doing it (and getting paid for it).

Exploit Your Talent
If you’re a gifted artist, musician, mechanic, organizer, juggler, bike rider, driver, dog walker, silly voice maker, … chances are, you can find a way to make money by doing it. Turn your hobby into a business. Do you like making model airplanes? Then make them and sell them, start a model airplane repair company, charge people to have you customize their model planes to fit their personality, teach people how to fly model airplanes, organize model airplane contests and events, and so forth. Even if it isn’t exactly your dream job, it can lead you one step closer to your dream job.

Mine is Better
Is your recipe, method, handmade item, etc. better than what you’ve seen out there in the commercial world? If it really is better, you can probably sell it. Let’s say you make hats, hats that are much nicer than the ones they sell at discount stores or the malls. They’re better quality. They’re fashionable. They fit perfectly. They keep your head warmer. Chances are somebody else will want to buy it because it really is better.

Other Business Ideas
So you still can’t think of what you want to do? Here are some ideas to get you started

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A Slight Rise in Consumer Confidence

The nation
’s consumers grew slightly more confident in December despite underlying concerns about the health of the economy.

The Conference Board said on Thursday that its Consumer Confidence Index increased to 88.6 in December from a revised 87.8 in November. It was the first increase since July.

The nation’s consumers grew slightly more confident in December despite underlying concerns about the health of the economy.

The Conference Board said on Thursday that its Consumer Confidence Index increased to 88.6 in December from a revised 87.8 in November. It was the first increase since July.

Wall Street expected a slight drop to a reading of 87.0, according to Thomson/IFR.

Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said that the gain in the overall index “was due solely to an increase in the expectations index.”

This reading, which measures consumers’ outlook over the next six months, rose to 75.5 in December from 69.1 the month before.

“Consumers’ short-term outlook regarding business conditions, employment, inflation and stock prices improved marginally,” Ms. Franco said.

Still, she added: “Persistent declines in the present situation index indicate the economy is still losing momentum.”

That index, which measures how consumers feel now about the economy, has been weakening since July and fell again in December to 108.3 from 115.7 the month before.

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Blogging All the Way To the Bank

Blogging can be a valuable (yet inexpensive) tool for small businesses to market their products or services. Tips for successful business blogging include creating original content, developing a blogging strategy, and customizing your content based upon what readers want.
Journalists and business analysts are sitting up and taking note of business bloggers. Can it be profitable? Does it really create more business for the bloggers? Is it worth the time and effort? How can small businesses blog for success?

The New York Times profiled a few blogging success stories, and readers are starting to agree that blogging can be good business. The appeal of blogging is simple: It’s a low-cost way for a business to generate buzz. The biggest “cost” is typically the time spent developing materials for the site. Yet experts estimate that only about 5% of small businesses (those with 100 or fewer employees) use blogs for marketing and promotion.

The real success in blogging is for the select few who have mastered that fine combination of engaging content, regular updates, and loyal readers. Not everyone should blog, and indeed there are certain industries that lend themselves better to blogging. A business consultant will probably have more reason to blog than a grocery store owner. Companies in innovative industries with constant change are more likely to find success blogging than other slow-paced, traditional industries.

A Wall Street Journal story discussed small businesses increasing their profiles with the help of blogs. I demonstrated to the reporter the dollars and cents that blogging has brought in for my company, and the numbers were compelling. But serious business bloggers shouldn’t underestimate the commitment that blogging takes - you don’t just throw up a blog one day and have new customers waltzing in the door the next day.

Bloggers have to be dedicated to developing a blog that speaks to readers… but not just any readers. It must speak to those who will buy the products or services the business is offering. (And the key word here is “developing”: a blog must be nurtured and cared for over a period of the time in order to see real results.)

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Why Home Owners Are Looking For Unsecured Loans

Homeowners realized that the risk of repossession can exceed the benefits of secured loans and thus have decided to opt for unsecured loans.
The absence of collateral defines unsecured loans. This implies that applicants will not have to offer any kind of asset in order to secure their loan. This usually meant that those who made use of this kind of loans where tenants and generally non-homeowners. However, lately homeowners have joined the group of those who prefer to apply for an unsecured loan than a secured loan.
Homeowners, usually customers of secured loans, realized that the risk of repossession can exceed the benefits of secured loans and thus have decided to opt for unsecured loans. This is due to the fact that the benefits of secured loans can also be obtained by homeowners when applying for unsecured loans.

Unsecured Loans are not that Risky
Lenders that deal with unsecured loans do not have the right to collect money directly from the enforced sell of a borrower’s asset. However the lender still holds the ability to pursue legal actions against the borrower in order to recover his money. That being said, applicants must understand that unsecured loans do not offer the possibility to be left unpaid.

The sum offered in unsecured loans is lower compared to the amount of money you can get from secured loans. Usually this kind of loans is used for going on vacation, buying furniture, paying off bills and other debts, etc.

In order to get an unsecured personal loan, applicant ought to have a good credit history. This is due to the fact that there is a high risk involved in this kind of transactions for the lender and since there is no asset guaranteeing the loan. The borrower’s personal credit will be the guarantee.

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Educate Yourself Before You Refinance a 2nd Mortgage

There is no arguing that your home is your greatest asset. As the cost of living goes higher and higher, you may decide you want to get a second mortgage on your home. But you must be careful when applying for a second mortgage. Here are some things you need to know first.

There are many reasons why an individual needs to take out a second mortgage on their home. Normally, why you would want to take out a second mortgage is because you require a large sum of money. Some of the most common reasons for this are because of an unexpected bill, such as hospital bills or a sudden need for business money. No matter why you need to have a large sum of money, it seems that the easiest way to get it is through a second home mortgage. But what happens when you want to refinance 2nd mortgage? Can you actually refinance this mortgage, or are you stuck with its interest rates?

When you’re looking to refinance your second mortgage, there are several things you must know. If you are looking to refinance your second mortgage, you should seriously consider refinancing your first mortgage as well. You would want to consider doing this if your first and second mortgages have slightly higher than desired interest rates. If you are able to refinance both of these mortgages into one loan, you will be potentially saving thousands of dollars a year in interest rates.

Another aspect of refinancing second mortgage is if you have a variable interest rate on your second mortgage, and you want to switch this to a fixed rate. Just like with your initial home mortgage, you are able to refinance your second mortgage into a fixed interest rate. This is a great idea if you are planning on living in your current home for more than five-to-ten years, because you will be able to lock-in a low interest rate for the duration of your loan.

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Payday Loans Charge 1040% Interest

Have you ever used or considered using a Payday loan? Do you think there are time to use a payday loan? I am sure there are some reasons to use a payday loan, but have you ever really considered what interest rate they are charing?

Sounds good right? Wrong. To give them $20 doesn’t sound like a lot, but consider that you are only borrowing $100 and you are paying so much to pay them back within 1 - 2 weeks normally.

What does a payday loan really cost in interest terms?

Let’s say you are borrowing $100 and going to pay $15 for 1 week loan.

What this translates to for this simple payday loan is an annual interest rate for this loan of 780% APR. If they charge you $20 instead of $15 for the 1 week payday loan you then are paying an interest of 1040% APR.

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How to Do a Resume

Effective resumes contain the most important information in the first page and are two pages in length at most. Data are summarized and presented in a clear and concise bullet form. The good utilization of white space also plays a part, as with the font and content layout.

Resumes must encapsulate your skills and experience, highlighting your good points and achievements. Resumes should contain the following information in a well presented manner:

* Profile
The profile is an integral part of your resume and should show an overview of your experience and skills. Your profile should be located within the first third of your resume, right after your name and contact information. You can use this section to highlight important areas of your career experience as well as identify your key abilities. Presenting a good profile will encourage employers to read through your resume.

* Achievements
List any achievements you may have attained or contributed to your present employer. Some of the best achievements to put down on a resume are those that are measurable through numbers and statistics. Achievements can help show a potential employer what you can do for them.

* Career History
Your career history must be detailed on your resume. Starting from the most current and listed in chronological order, provide your job title and the details for all the positions you have held. It is advisable to list down the most important responsibility and work your way downwards. If there are any gaps in your employment history, try explaining it briefly.

* Qualifications and Education
This section of your resume should simply list the degrees you have attained, along with details such as the date of qualification and the place of study. However, if you are still starting, it may be valuable to include more details about your qualifications, as long as the said qualifications hold some relevance to the position you want to get.

* Skills
Add in any skills and abilities that may be of significance to the position you are interested in. Skills applicable in the IT sector have increased in value, so it might do you well to include any skills and trainings in software, hardware, architectures, operating systems and the like.

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