Google’s public data search “makes it easy to find and compare public data.” Unemployment and population data (national, state and local) are available now, with promises of more to come. Google “population” or “unemployment” to see what it looks like.
Wolfram|Alpha, launching in May, promises to be even more cool:
What can it do? It can describe places, like Lexington, Mass., by its vital statistics, like location, population, weather, etc. It can compare Lexington with Moscow. If you type “LDL 180,” it will tell you the percentile of the population with higher or lower cholesterol and show you the answer on a chart. If you tell “LDL 180 male 45,” it will adjust the chart for gender and age group. It can chart the life expectancy of a male age 40 in Italy or tell you who was president of Brazil in 1928.