Who Subscribes and What Do They Want?


Gayle C. Edlin

In April 1994, subscribers to Wyoming Labor Force Trends were asked to fill out a postcard-sized survey form to retain their positions on the Trends mailing list. The purpose of this survey was twofold: to gather information about the readers of Trends and to purge the mailing list of subscribers who no longer used Trends. Those who did not return the completed survey form by June 15, 1994 were deleted from the mailing list.

The reader survey was a success on both counts: not only did Research & Planning save the cost of printing and mailing approximately 250 unused copies of Trends, but we obtained feedback from subscribers on what they felt was the most useful information presented in Trends and the subjects on which they would like to see more articles. In fact, regular subscribers will recall a feature called "What's Happening in the Nation?" which ceased its monthly appearance in August 1994. This was due in part to reader response.

Most survey respondents returned the form by the due date. We have also received about thirty telephone calls in the months since June 1994 from people who missed the survey, or those who only occasionally use Trends, such as for the annual average employment figures or wage survey results. These individuals or companies have since been reinstated to the mailing list at their requests.

Reader Response

Who subscribes?

As Figure 1 illustrates, many of Trends readers who responded to the survey are in private businesses (44.3%). Nearly that many (36.1%) are in government at the federal, state or local level. A very small percentage are individuals (3.8%). The remainder (15.8%) are in non-profit organizations.

What do they want?

Readers were asked to rank the following Trends segments with a ranking of "1" being the most important: "Wyoming Economic Indicators", "Labor Force/Unemployment", "Cover Articles", "Nonag. Wage and Salary Employment", "What's Happening in the Nation?" and "Other". The information was summarized, and a mean rank (the average of all the rankings assigned by survey respondents) was calculated for each category. The results are summarized in Table 1.

Overall, survey respondents ranked "Wyoming Economic Indicators" as the most useful Trends content, with "Labor Force/Unemployment" a close second. Furthermore, "What's Happening in the Nation?" was clearly the single Trends content that was least valued by readers (the "Other" category indicated varied Trends contents and was only ranked at all by a small number of survey respondents). This information contributed to the elimination of "What's Happening in the Nation?" as a regular Trends feature.

When asked what they would like to see more articles on, survey respondents were more evenly distributed. Again, the average of all the rankings assigned by survey respondents was used to calculate a mean rank for each category. Narrowly emerging as the most favored topics for future articles were: "Wyoming Future Trends (Projections)", "General Wyoming Economy" and "Employment Changes", in that order (see Table 2). Least favored topics included "Education and Training", "Other" and "Unemployment".

Future of the Survey

We are again surveying our readership. We welcome your comments and ideas at any time, via mail, telephone, fax and now e-mail.

Our address is:


Research & Planning
Attn: Gayle Edlin
P.O. Box 2760
Casper, WY 82602


(307) 473-3808


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