Friday, December 26, 2008

Financial Enlightenment Projects.

The recent financial crisis has sparked a few projects designed to enlighten the media, policymakers, and we the people regarding the activity in the world of finance. Here are a few examples:

If you have a question about Federal programs, benefits, or services the Federal Citizen Information Center , a part of the U.S. General Services Administration
Small business answer desk.

Pew has launched the project, Subsidy Scope which aims to raise public awareness about the role of federal subsidies in the economy.

Morningstar is planning to construct a pension, endowment and foundation database that will include performance and operational information on foundations, endowments and pension funds, which they hope to launch in early 2009. The system will track foundations, pensions and endowments along about 300 data points, including portfolio holdings, fees and expenses, assets under management and quarterly performance.

The Library of the International Labour Office (ILO) has produced a new information resource guide on microfinance.. This guide is a starting point for anyone beginning research on microfinance. It provides links to key ILO publications on the topic, ILO labour standards and data, as well as other resources around the world.

With more than 6 million organizations with paid employees in the US the U.S. Census Bureau is releasing a new product, Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS), a data series that allows users to track annual changes in employment for growing and shrinking businesses at the establishment level.

The BDS monitors this activity, tracking annual job creation and destruction at the establishment level using elements not found in similar databases, such as firm age and size. Tracking by firm age, for example, allows users to distinguish between new establishments of new firms and new establishments of mature firms. These statistics are crucial to understanding current and historical entrepreneurial activity in the U.S.

“The Business Dynamics Statistics provide data users unprecedented information on the life cycle of U.S. businesses,” said Ron Jarmin, chief economist at the U.S. Census Bureau. “These rich new data will fundamentally change the way people think about job creation and economic growth.”

A number of key economic data items are tabulated by the Business Dynamics Statistics, including number of establishments, establishment openings and closings, employment, job creation and destruction, and job expansions and contractions.
And finally, the 2008 Financial Crisis Primer, which compiles some of the "best and most accessible materials related to the crisis. It provides resources such as articles on the failure of regulation, the Congressional testimony of key players, editorials on the government's bailout of banks, books on previous financial debacles, and the voices of people who have lost homes in foreclosures."


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