35 posts
Seeking simplicity in complex data: Bloomberg’s dataviz on UK gender pay gap

Bloomberg featured a thought-provoking dataviz that illustrates the pay gap by gender in the U.K. The dataset underlying this effort is complex, and the designers did a good job simplifying the data for ease of comprehension. U.K. companies are required to submit data on salaries and bonuses by gender, and by pay quartiles. The dataset is incomplete, since some companies are slow to report, and the analyst decided not to...

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The Economist on the Economist: must read now

A visual data journalist at the Economist takes a critical eye on charts published by the Economist (link). This is a must read! (Hat tip: Fernando) Here are some of my commentary on past Economist charts.

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Transforming the data to fit the message

A short time ago, there were reports that some theme-park goers were not happy about the latest price hike by Disney. One of these report, from the Washington Post (link), showed a chart that was intended to convey how much Disney park prices have outpaced inflation. Here is the chart: I had a lot of trouble processing this chart. The two lines are labeled "original price" and "in 2014 dollars"....

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Labels, scales, controls, aggregation all in play

JB @barclaysdevries sent me the following BBC production over Twitter. He was not amused. This chart pushes a number of my hot buttons. First, I like to assume that readers don't need to be taught that 2007 and 2018 are examples of "Year". Second, starting an area chart away from zero is equally as bad as starting a bar chart not at zero! The area is distorted and does not...

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Visual Exploration of Unemployment Data

The charts on unemployment data I put up last week are best viewed as a collection.  I have put them up on the (still in beta) JMP Public website. You can find the project here.  I believe that if you make an account, you can grab the underlying dataset.  

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Men and women faced different experiences in the labor market

Last week, I showed how the aggregate statistics, unemployment rate, masked some unusual trends in the labor market in the U.S. Despite the unemployment rate in 2018 being equal, and even a little below, that in 2000, the peak of the last tech boom, there are now significantly more people "not in the labor force," and these people are not counted in the unemployment rate statistic. The analysis focuses on...

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What to make of the historically low unemployment rate

One of the amazing economic stories of the moment is the unemployment rate, which at around 4% has returned to the level last reached during the peak of the tech boom in 2000. The story is much more complex than it seems. I devoted a chapter of Numbersense (link) to explain how the government computes unemployment rates. The most important thing to realize is that an unemployment rate of 4...

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The ebb and flow of an effective dataviz showing the rise and fall of GE

A WSJ chart caught my eye the other day – I spotted someone looking at it in a coffee shop, and immediately got a hold of a copy. The chart plots the ebb and flow of GE’s revenues from the 1980s to the present. What grabbed my attention? The less-used chart form, and the appealing but not too gaudy color scheme. The chart presents a highly digestible view of the...

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NYT hits the trifecta with this market correction chart

Yesterday, in the front page of the Business section, the New York Times published a pair of charts that perfectly captures the story of the ongoing turbulence in the stock market. Here is the first chart: Most market observers are very concerned about the S&P entering "correction" territory, which the industry arbitrarily defines as a drop of 10% or more from a peak. This corresponds to the shortest line on...

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The merry-go-round of investment bankers

Here is the start of my blog post about the chart I teased the other day:   Today's post deals with the following chart, which appeared recently at Business Insider (hat tip: my sister). It's immediately obvious that this chart requires a heroic effort to decipher. The question shown in the chart title "How many senior investment bankers left their firms?" is the easiest to answer, as the designer places the number...

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