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This is a really great idea. It's all very well to say "go look it up on Cansim, it's free now!" If you're not used to doing this, you can be easily overwhelmed. It's great to slow it down to the step-by-step level.

Frances, please tell me you don't mumble! Pulpit Presence, my dear lady, Pulpit Presence!

Oh man - I'm watching you try to get JUST THE DAMN CPI AND NOT EVERY FREAKING COMPONENT.

I would have started ranting angrily at that point.

Stephen, the updated version is better, I just selected all and then unselected all.

Determinant, you can judge for yourse.f

Stephen, do you think I should take down the video showing core CPI, and only leave up the one with all goods CPI?

I think that might be a good idea. Core is only really used as a predictor of future CPI. It really shouldn't be used to deflate nominal spending (unless you actually are talking about the stuff that's in the core basket).

The only people who should ever use core are money/macro economists who are trying to decide whether to tighten or loosen monetary policy. You wouldn't (I think) ever use core to adjust anything for inflation.

I'm trying to gather up the courage to watch. Fearing it would only make me feel more incompetent.

Do it! She explains how to use the formula feature in excel!

Nick, these are for mechanics, not poets.

Thanks a lot. I don't have time to watch right now, but my first attempt to use Cansim resulted in something like 450 tables while trying to find one data series I was interested in (I was trying to find average weekly earnings - or some equivalent income stat - for either Alberta or the Edmonton CMA over time). Needless to say, at this point I gave up trying to use CANSIM. This is a great resource for us armchair nerds that lack any kind of formal research training.

Neil, you chose option 2, download the entire table, instead of using add/remove data to select the series you wanted, and then picking option 1. I did that too the first couple of times.

Thanks, this is a very useful set of videos.

I've added one on how to insert a hyperlink. This was my second attempt, but I'm still not convinced that the font size is big enough to read.

Okay, I've watched now, and this is great stuff. I have no idea what I was doing before, but I don't remember there being a nice drop-down menu and check boxes to select what I wanted.

Frances - if I could make a suggestion for the employment numbers: use Table 282-0087 and choose the seasonally-adjusted data. There are very significant seasonal swings in Canadian data - and StatsCan appears to be the leading expert in dealing with it. Their X11 filter (don't ask) is used by statistical agencies around the world.

It didn't matter for the application you chose, but if someone wants the headline numbers, they're in 282-0087.

Stephen @#%$#@%$#@!!

Thanks, I'll retape it. These are getting way more hits than I thought they would, so it's worth getting it right. I need to re-do the "putting data into perspective" one too.

If you redo them, try hard not to lose that "why isn't that working?" real world freshness. Very endearing - the basis of true classics.

Yes, exactly. Getting those data really is *not* all that obvious. People who are led to believe that "It's as simple as 1-2-3" will be cruelly disappointed.

Oh my. They have a ways to go yet before it's as good as FRED. And it is a shame they don't offer a programming interface. Then we too could have toys like an Excel addin and mobile apps (for the non-nerds: under the hood, it's the programming interface that makes the toys possible).


Patrick, I thought for a minute you were talking about the videos not CANSIM.

Stephen, I've redone the employment video to use table 282-0087, and included a little gripe about how difficult it is to figure out which numbers to use. The new one is now linked in the update above. I've left the other one up but given it a much less appealing title ("seasonally unadjusted employment data in CANSIM"). Am also repeatedly clicking trying to crank up the page view number for the new video so it overtakes the old one.

Am listening to it now. You do well not to skip quickly through the first parts.

It's always surprising to me just how difficult it can be to find the data behind the headline numbers in the StatsCan Daily releases; it took awhile before I finally found 282-0087. Today's release of the household balance sheets is anther good example. There are the *national* numbers, and the *household* numbers. I had to send an e-mail once to ask where the household numbers were.

Stephen - I'm glad 282-0087 wasn't obvious to you either!

I was chatting yesterday with someone who works at StatsCan who suggested searching The Daily first to find table numbers, and then going to CANSIM, but that strategy doesn't always work either - e.g. for employment it gives something along the lines of "the information can be found in CANSIM table 282-0001 to 282-0099".

I recorded another one this morning on how to convert quarterly data to annual data using Excel - a nasty little operation that is necessary to, for example, use the most recent government revenue stats, as due to the change over in gov't accounting system the 2010 numbers are only available in the quarterly series. It's still loading. Took 4 or 5 takes - though Jim's comment above gave me courage.

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG this is awesome. Thank you so much. Time to start forwarding these on to some poeple in need. This is a perfect primer for people working with stats but who don't have a background in economics.

Anon - thanks for your comments.

The latest one is now up showing how to convert quarterly data to annual data using excel.

Key. Key. Key. Key. Key? Key.

The other "K",

I know it was stupid to ever comment under the pseudonym "K". It's too generic. But I did and I've been doing so on this site for a while now. Could you choose anther name? Please?

Best regards,
K

First K - I don't understand. Are you getting annoyed at the way I say o.k. all the time? Or that I don't describe what keys to use I just hit ctrl-c, ctrl-v or the all-powerful mac F3 key to make things happen?

If the first - well, in life you get what you pay for, k?

Good job. I hope that this is just the beginning of a new tradition to put your education materials on the web.

PS: Just a minor tip, I saw that you expand the formula by copy-pasting it from the cell where you typed it. I find easier to do expansion by dragging that small dot on the lower right corner of the cell around the spread sheet.

J.V. - thanks. If you have suggestions for other videos, just let me know. They're kind of fun to do - high reward/effort ratio.

That "How to find stuff in Cansim" has some *very* useful tips. I didn't know about the 'Media' tab; a pro tip if there ever was one.

Stephen - thanks, and thanks for the retweet.

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