“Seeing” Virginia’s Workforce

FlowingData_ScreenShot_Virginia_MedIncWhen it comes to interactive data visualizations, I am a junky. I don’t mean the dime-a-dozen country maps showing the favorite baby name/band/movie/current fad for each state. I mean the kind that present information in a way that surprises me, even when I am relatively familiar with the data.

The Demographics Research Group has created some really illuminating data visualizations highlighting residential segregation by race, educational division in Washington, D.C., and this older one on electoral changes in Virginia.

Today I spent quite a bit of time exploring this interactive chart of Jobs by State and Salary, created by Dr. Nathan Yau over at FlowingData. In this chart, Yau shows the number of people employed and the median income for all jobs in a state. The top image shows the occupations in Virginia with a median annual salary of roughly $33,000 or more highlighted in green.

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A trend is your friend: the latest unemployment and poverty numbers

In this presidential election year, the public seems particularly focused on the monthly unemployment statistics gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). By now I am sure we all know how it works:

If the numbers are bad:

The Republicans tout the numbers as proof that Obama is destroying the economy, and Democrats make an attempt to assure everyone that one month’s numbers don’t mean anything.

If the numbers are good:

The Democrats tout the numbers as proof that Obama is improving the economy, and Republicans make an attempt to assure everyone that one month’s numbers don’t mean anything.

Last month’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.8% from 8.1% in August. Is this drop extraordinary? No. Will the unemployment rate continue to drop? Maybe. Is this a left-wing conspiracy to make Obama look good in the last few months of the campaign? Absolutely not. Let me explain…

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