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Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 9, 2007

Cross-disciplinary advice for writers:

"Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end."

--Igor Stravinsky, composer (1882-1971)

Workforce office, Cache planners to share employment data for transportation forecasts

By Miriah Griffith

February 7, 2007 | CACHE COUNTY -- The Department of Workforce Services and Cache Technical Advisory Committee will now be sharing information with each other after the Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization approved the agreement Monday evening.

Last year the CTAC had to get legislation passed after DWS refused to give out employment information, said Transportation Planner Jeff Gilbert.

"We need that information in order to effectively project where Cache Valley will be growing the most, and where we need to plan on constructing new transportation routes," he said. The legislation was passed in 2006.

The DWS was hesitant to give out information for two reasons, said Gilbert. First, the CATC was not officially recognized as authorized to receive the information. Secondly, competing businesses don't want data on their employee ratios accessible to the competition.

"We couldn't, by law, release discrete data for individual companies," said Department of Workforce Labor Market Economist John Matthews. "There are administrative rules that we have to follow."

Matthews added that data can be given in ranges to the public.

"With the information they give us, we could tell a business how many employees they have," said Gilbert. "At the point that information is made public, it's problematic."

The legislation stipulates that information on any zone with three or fewer employers cannot be published because it could be easily deducted which statistics match up with which business.

Gilbert said all zones the CTAC studies have well over three employers. "The way we use the data isn't necessarily specific to individual businesses, so it's not a problem," he said.

Under the new agreement, DWS sends CTAC raw, unanalyzed data on employment in Cache Valley, from which the CTAC can project growth and transportation needs in what they call travel-to-man models. The raw numbers, as opposed to ranges, increase the accuracy of projections.

The models take into account socio-economic data, including housing, employment and population, said Gilbert.

Mayor David Kooyman of Hyde Park moved to approve the agreement. Mayor Cary Watkins, North Logan, seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

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