US unemployment: Where are the jobs?
Note: I’m taking the 6-week Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization course offered by the Knight Center and taught by Alberto Cairo. I wrote this blog post as one of the fourth week’s assignments.
The Guardian’s Datablog posted "US jobless data: How has unemployment changed under Obama" a few weeks back. I would construct an interactive graphic based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics a little differently.
First I’d present the data as choropleth map, that is a map that shows the percentages or classes with different shades of a color. If it were an online map, I’d use shades of red or green. I think green would best signify that unemployment rates are more or less back to “normal.” For a map in a print publication with no color, I’d use shades of gray. The one I posted above I experimented with shades of gray and red, with the reds correlating to those that are above average.
Most certainly a proportional symbol map with overlapping transparent circles would be interesting. I think this type of graphic would work best for my first page dealing with unemployment over time and showing broad trends.
In either case of a choropleth map or a proportional symbol map, the user should be able to interact with the graphic by sliding through they years to see the change and by being able to zoom in to the county level (also known as the enumeration units).
I included a second page for my graphic that breaks the states out by ranking of unemployment. This is useful for those that want to immediately see exactly where their state stands in comparison to others. For this page, I included a drop-down menu so a user can toggle between the recession years.
To make the graphic more interesting, I created a third page that allows the user to view a recession story by way of industry. The stacked bar chart adds a new layer of depth and comparison of how the recession has hit us all. A drop-down menu is included so users can toggle between industries. If they select an industry from the menu and hold down Command + Shift, they can add more industries to the bar graph. If they hover over an industry’s name in the axis an X will appear so they can delete an industry if they like.
The data in the third chart is also pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. [Note: The third page is just a mockup. Thus the bars that do exist are totally made up and not accurate.]