Monthly Archives: November 2009

Data visualization and unemployment #

I’m fascinated by data visualization. Expressing complex ideas in a simple way is immensely powerful. In my post yesterday, I linked to a county-by-county time lapse of unemployment rates. I’ve found some interesting images (complete with a thorough explanation) examining the U.S. economy. The article is interesting, but the images, if you’ll pardon the cliché, really are worth a thousand words. A sample of images is included below–visit the full article for more.

Mass-layoff events for 2008-2009:

Percentage of workforce employed in manufacturing (2006):

Unemployment (2008):

A while ago, I asked how government would change if budgets were presented visually. In a similar vein, how would education change if achievement data were also presented visually? Would our decisions change? Why?

All images the article by George Maasry, “US Unemployment in 2009—More Job Losses in Production”,, 2009-03-09.

Unemployment map #

Daring Fireball pointed to this county-by-county time lapse of unemployment rates. Fascinating. It explains some of the differences I’ve observed in the move from Utah to Georgia.

A few things to notice:

  • Because each frame is a 12-month running average, the map doesn’t show whether some counties have started to pull out of high unemployment.
  • Michigan and Oregon were hurting before the bust really got started.
  • What makes the Rocky Mountain states (the swath starting at Montana and the Dakotas and moving South) have lower unemployment from start to finish?
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