Archive for the ‘research’ Category
Your tax dollars are at work in this collection of awesome data visualizations from the U.S. Census Bureau.
I chose this one because it illustrates the growing trend of Americans moving more and more to the edges of the country. According to research from NOAA:
… 39 percent of the U.S. population is concentrated in counties directly on the shoreline–less than 10 percent of the total U.S. land area excluding Alaska, and that 52 percent of the total population lives in counties that drain to coastal watersheds, less than 20 percent of U.S. land area, excluding Alaska. A coastal watershed is an area in which water, sediments, and dissolved material drain to a common coastal outlet, like a bay or the ocean)
This continued migration means more opportunity – and competition – for landscape contractors in already established markets like California, Florida and the Northeast. It also means more strain on already stressed water systems.
Click through to get more context on shifts in population density, geography and all sorts of other cool information.
Thankfully, landscaping doesn’t top the BLS list of deadliest jobs, but it still ranks pretty high. According to the most recent data, landscape services saw a 25% jump in fatal injuries from 2010 to 2011. According to the report:
Fatal work injuries in the professional and business services sector were up 16 percent, led by an increase in fatalities in landscape services to 167 in 2011 from 133 in 2010.
Image via NPR.
Good news for landscapers in the squarer states: Middle America boasts some of the strongest regional economies in the country. That’s according to number crunching released earlier this month by the Business Journals.
The media company analyzes short- and long-term data like private-sector employment, the unemployment rate and real estate values to compare the relative economic health of major metropolitan areas.
This month is the first time the company has publicly released these data. Here’s what they had to say about the top five strongest cities:
1. Oklahoma City: Workers’ earnings have grown faster in Oklahoma City than in any other market during the past year (11.9 percent), and the unemployment rate (4.8 percent) is lower than anywhere but Omaha.
2. Austin: The Texas capital is setting the pace for private-sector job growth, boosting local employment by 7.1 percent since 2007.
3. Omaha: The jobless rate in Omaha, as noted above, is the best among all 102 metros, 4.7 percent. Compare that to the national rate of 8.3 percent.
4. Pittsburgh: The value of a typical home in the Pittsburgh area has risen 5.5 percent in half a decade. Only Houston (5.8 percent) has done better.
5. Denver: Colorado’s biggest metro ranks among the top 10 markets for earnings per worker, one-year private-sector growth and one-year housing-price appreciation.
You can read the full report here, and download region-specific data for more than 100 cities.
Related to yesterday’s post about how much we make, today we bring you this chart that explains how we spend it.
But poor families spend a much larger share of their budget on basic necessities such as food at home, utilities and health care. Rich families are able to devote a much bigger chunk of their spending to education, and a much, much bigger share to saving for retirement. (The retirement line includes contributions to Social Security and to private retirement plans, by the way.)
You can read the full story here.
From the great Planet Money bog at NPR comes this chart breaking down what Americans make annually:
Some takeaways: Almost one household out of every four (24.9 percent) makes less than $25,000 a year. About one in three households (30.1 percent) made between $50,000 and $100,000. One in five households (19.9 percent) made more than $100,000 a year.
The income part of the data excludes dividends, capital gains and income from real estate, like rent payments. The benefits part includes food stamps or subsidized housing. Many of these government subsidies are targeted at poorer households.
Click through to get a state-by-state breakdown.
While spending 12 hours in the blistering heat might not sound like the smartest idea, it turns out that spending more time outdoors improves the way our brains work.
A research team led by Marc Berman of the University of Michigan gave participants a standard memory and attention test then assigned some of them to walk through downtown Ann Arbor, and others to walk through the impressive campus arboretum. The participants were tested again upon their return, and beyond a doubt the group that took the nature walk scored significantly better.
Here’s what he original study, published in 2008, found:
In sum, we have shown that simple and brief interactions with nature can produce marked increases in cognitive control. To consider the availability of nature as merely an amenity fails to recognize the vital importance of nature in effective cognitive functioning.
Researchers repeated a similar study this year to see if exposure to greenspace would influence subjects with major clinical depression.
The study prompts several conclusions. The first, not really tied to cities, is that nature walks might provide a cost-efficient supplement to traditional treatments for major depression. As the researchers point out, the mood priming did work, meaning study participants set out on their journey thinking about a negative personal event. The fact that their positive affect improved despite this sour state shows the cognitive power of park land.
The second conclusion, more germane for our purposes, is that “incorporating nearby nature into urban environments may counteract” some of the cognitive strains placed on the brain by the city, the authors write. Recent research has suggested economic and crime benefits of urban greenery; now advocates can legitimately add “public health” to their list of arguments.
So, in conclusion: The urban and managed landscape doesn’t just look good – it makes you smarter and feel better about yourself.
I got to do one of my favorite things as editor at L&L today.
When we run surveys, we typically offer an incentive – we’ve given away iPads, digital cameras and a trip to Hawaii. But we run a lot of surveys, so we often use gift cards. So every few weeks I walk down to the bank near our office and pick up a few Visa gift cards.
We just finished up another research project, this one about lawn care product use, and I got to pick up cards at $75 a pop for 10 random respondents.
- Michael Rush, Rush Lawn Care, Searcy, Ark.
- Ricki Linyard, Lawn Doctor, Olive Branch, Miss.
- Mark Landa, Boulevard Flower Gardens, South Chesterfield, Va.
- Erv Denig, Lawn & Turf Landscaping, Ft. Wayne, Ind.
- Robb Bashaw, Rancho del Escudo, Waller, Texas
- Chris Senske, Senske Lawn & Tree Care, Kennewick,Wash.
- Rick Lisanti, Growing Concern, Monroe Township, N.J.
- Craig Pickett, J.H. Plantscapes, Cypress, Texas
- Rafael Rico, Hometown Pest Control, Delray Beach, Fla.
- Mark Ruppert, Ruppert & Company Property Services, Bloomfield, Conn.
So, congratulations to our winners. Your cards are on their way. And to everyone else out there, thank you for taking the time to fill out our surveys. We know you’re busy, and your responses really help us as we put together the magazine each month.
Some well-illustrated research from a late 2011 NFIB survey on small business owner sentiment and plans.
Key findings include:
- 3 out of 5 owners said uncertainty – both economic and political – impedes growth.
- Three-quarters of owners want to add employees in the next five years. Sixty percent want to add between on and 9 people.
- More than half of respondents – 53% – said lack of demand from consumers is a key factor impeding growth.
- Oddly, 52% of owners said they expect “little to no change” in their marketing plans.
Check out our January cover story on the new consumer, and what you can do to better understand – and sell to – them in the next year.