Variance

96 posts
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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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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McKinsey thinks the data world needs more dataviz talent

Note about last week: While not blogging, I delivered four lectures on three topics over five days: one on the use of data analytics in marketing for a marketing class at Temple; two on the interplay of analytics and data visualization, at Yeshiva and a JMP Webinar; and one on how to live during the Data Revolution at NYU. This week, I'm back at blogging. McKinsey publishes a report confirming...

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Plotted performance guaranteed not to predict future performance

Kaiser Fung (Junkcharts, Principal Analytics Prep) finds a chart on French financial instruments conveys a misleading message on relative returns while failing to describe the relative risks.

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Crazy rich Asians inspire some rich graphics

On the occasion of the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, the New York Times did a very nice report on Asian immigration in the U.S. The first two graphics will be of great interest to those who have attended my free dataviz seminar (coming to Lyon, France in October, by the way. Register here.), as it deals with a related issue. The first chart shows an income gap widening between...

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Crazy rich Asians inspire some rich graphics

Kaiser Fung (Junkcharts, Principal Analytics Prep) examines several charts made by New York Times on income distribution among Asian Americans, as the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians dominates the U.S. box office in September.

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Two thousand five hundred ways to say the same thing

Wallethub published a credit card debt study, which includes the following map: Let's describe what's going on here. The map plots cities (N = 2,562) in the U.S. Each city is represented by a bubble. The color of the bubble ranges from purple to green, encoding the percentile ranking based on the amount of credit card debt that was paid down by consumers. Purple represents 1st percentile, the lowest amount...

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This map steals story-telling from the designer

Stolen drugs is a problem at federal VA hospitals according to the following map. *** Let's evaluate this map from a Trifecta Checkup perspective. VISUAL - Pass by a whisker. The chosen visual form of a map is standard for geographic data although the map snatches story-telling from our claws, just as people steal drugs from hospitals. Looking at the map, it's not clear what the message is. Is there...

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Common charting issues related to connecting lines, labels, sequencing

The following chart about "ranges and trends for digital marketing salaries" has some problems that appear in a great number of charts. The head tilt required to read the job titles. The order of the job titles is baffling. It's neither alphabetical nor by salary. The visual form suggests that we could see trends in salaries reading left-right, but the only information about trends is the year on year salary...

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Fantastic visual, but the Google data need some pre-processing

Another entry in the Google Newslab data visualization project that caught my eye is the "How to Fix It" project, illustrating search queries across the world that asks "how." The project web page is here. The centerpiece of the project is an interactive graphic showing queries related to how to fix home appliances. Here is what it looks like in France (It's always instructive to think about how they would...

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