marginal revolution points to an interesting search result from google. if u do a search for unemployment rate, u get pointed to a wonderful chart of public unemployment data and they plan to put more of these charts out.
notably, madison county has 3% lower unemployment than the rest of the state. defense and gov’t work is king during war & recession. my company is currently in a hiring phase, which is completely counter-cyclical to the wider economy.
anyways, wired had a story on the trend towards greater access to vast amounts of data leading to a change in the way science is conducted. the story argued that w/ enormous amounts of data available to ppl, everyone could just mine the data for correlation and disregard the process of coming up w/ a theory to test against.
razib points out that even economists are taking note. to date, there’s been a rather large gap between economic theory and empirical results (e.g. the equation of economic death), but w/ all the data we have available today, maybe that’ll change. maybe in the future, we’ll have all the data we need to correctly value all the variables in that equation and so avoid the mess that poor correlation creates.