Canada not in latest World Values Survey

This somehow escaped my attention – Canada is not included in the 2014 round of the World Values Survey. We’ve been included in every round since 2000. The assorted government departments that have previously provided funding were not able to do so this time due to cutbacks. (About $64,000.) This is quite a blow to those of us who teach with – and learn from! – data. More here and here.


Job vacancy data a mess; Statistics Canada needs more money

According to a Globe and Mail article, the Conservative government has had to sharply revise its job vacancy numbers after dropping data based on  anonymous postings on sites such as Kijiji. The Kijiji posts included overcounting due to the same job being reposted in multiple areas of the site. After the revision, the official vacancy rate fell from 4% to 1.5%.

The Globe and Mail noted that “the solution would be to give Statistics Canada more money to improve its research on job vacancies, which are based on surveys of employers.”

Thanks to Wendy Watkins for posting this to the CAPDU list!

Chance to comment on Federal science, technology and innovation strategy

Belated note : Industry Canada currently has a consultation paper up for comment – the paper’s outlining the update to the 2007 strategy outline, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage.  The last day to send your submission in is tomorrow.

There are… potential issues with the strategy this outlines, including a complete neglect of the public sector and the role of evidence (data!) in public policy. Evidence for Democracy has a good take on the issue, and a sample letter. Have a look and consider sending in a quick comment!


Data Casualties of the U.S. Shutdown

As this New York Times article points out, the U.S. jobs report for September is one immediate casualty of the government shutdown. The September report is merely delayed, however; the data has been collected and will be crunched and released eventually. More problematically for the long term, data is not being collected during the shutdown. If the shutdown lasts long enough, there may never be unemployment data for October, putting a permanent kink into the annual data for 2013 and into long-term adjustments.

A Times op-ed, The ShutDown’s Data Blackout (by a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics), looks at these effects and asks whether collection of government data should really be considered “nonessential”. It’s good to see the question being asked in a major news outlet. Data is not a frill. Perhaps the single most fundamental thing that governments do is make decisions. They need information to base those decisions on. That’s what it’s all about.

Sites I regularly use as a data librarian that are down:

Things that are available but not being updated:

The University of Wisconsin Data Library Service has a post with a more detailed list, and this post from has some suggested alternatives.


“Cumulative” harm from voluntary Census

Have a look at this article from the Hill Times: Voluntary census already damaging reliability of statistics, harm is ‘cumulative’.

“...we’re going to be getting further and further away from a point when we ever did have good information about what society looked like. The effect of bad information is cumulative, and it shows up in all kinds of policies.

Thanks to Wendy Watkins for posting this to the CAPDU list!