Iowa Unemployment: Exploring the Denominator

Iowa’s unemployment edged up to 6.7 percent in November from October’s 6.6 percent. The increase wasn’t statistically significant, so for practicality we can say it remained flat.  However, the unemployment level isn’t too disconcerting, especially since Iowa is relatively low compared to other states. Iowa’s civilian labor force declined for the third straight month.  In […]

Preview: Community College Finances – Tufte Scatterplot

I’ve actually shown this graph before at a State Board of Education meeting last year. I don’t think it was received as well as I had hoped. Many people were worried about the “complexity” of the diagram and I did hear some murmuring when I flipped to the slide. Below is the image of the […]

Preview: Five-year In-state Retention Rate

Ever get a letter from your alma mater asking what you’ve been up to since you graduated? That data is used to see how well the college has been doing. It’s especially important for public colleges to see if most graduates stick around. Ever send one back? No? Well, most don’t. But that’s a pain […]

REC Estimates for Fiscal Year 2011

The Revenue Estimating Conference published their December predictions for fiscal year 2011 (July 2009 – June 2010). We know the margin of error for REC net revenue predictions for the following year 3.9%–higher than the ideal margin of error. REC revised, downward, their prediction to $5.403 billion in net revenues. Given their historical accuracy it […]

Accuracy of Iowa’s Revenue Estimating Conference

A lot of people have been paying attention to the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) the last two years. By law, REC meets three times a year–March, October, and December–to forecast tax revenues for the next fiscal year (between July and June). The legislature and governor use the estimates to determine expenditures…

Wii Shortages and Myths (Pertinant to Econ 102)

Last Christmas there was a bit of talk on the shortage of Wii’s. There are a number of examples where people claimed Nintendo intentionally withheld supplies, I’ll highlight one made at EveryJoe: Nintendo claims the shortage is not manufactured as one might wonder.  While Nintendo claims a manufactured shortage is not good business, it does […]

LaTeX for Undergraduates

The LATEX for Undergraduates tutorial has been resurrected and all of the broken links should be fixed on this domain. The tutorial describes the typesetting system in a way that can be taught in classrooms alongside another curriculum. The original tutorial was taught at Drake University’s freshman math seminar course.

Applied Microeconomics

From a series of forum posts: Person 1: I wasn’t all that impressed with [Johnny Walker] Blue… it seemed to go so far down the “how smooth can we make it” path that it didn’t have a whole ton of personality… Person 2: People don’t drink Johnny Walker Blue because they like it… people drink […]