Remember what the economy looked like on May 13, 2006? That was the date of the last Canadian census for which we have published results... before a very significant decline in North American and Canadian manufacturing... before the auto manufacturing crisis, bailout, restructuring and subsequent recovery... before the collapse of the forestry sector... when gold hitting $700/ounce had pundits predicting a collapse in gold prices - ha!
So what relevance does 2006 data have as a descriptor of your current local economy? Not much, but yet the majority of economic development websites and profiles provide 2006 data!
Small wonder site selectors listed stale data as their top frustration when you think about the magnitude of changes in every economy since 2006!
But wait, the 2011 census data is coming - yes, it will slowly dribble out in 2012, and already a year old and in the "stale" category in terms of site selector needs for current year data.
So what is the solution? Reliable data estimates from reputable data mining companies. And how do you pick a reputable data mining company? Look for:
- Data specialists: their only business is data, and their reputation and repeat business depends on it;
- Depth of data mining: how many sources of data are utilized in the preparation of data values - How they mine the "gold" trends, correlations, nonlinearities in data to improve accuracy?
- Scope of data variables: Are you getting all the data you need for economic development and site selection purposes, or a small sub-set?
- Qualifications of the "data master": What are the educational and experience qualifications of the person(s) behind the data modelling? What is the sophistication and cross-reliability of data modelling? Whether their methodologies are related to your business objectives?
Fortunately, in our quest to offer only the highest quality services and recommendations to you, we have completed this research and are pleased to share our conclusions with you. Yes, current year data estimates requires an investment - but it pales in comparison to the cost of one site selector taking a pass because of frustrating stale data, circa 2006.