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A Map that Is Cool, Useful, and Scary

posted by Bob Lawless

Slate has a put up a map that animates first job growth and then scary job losses from January 2007 to February 2009. It's worth a look, although the sea of red at the end might cause some sleepless nights. Very few data presentations are perfect, and I do have one quibble with this one. The map shows the absolute number of job losses such that higher populations areas appear to be doing worse. Thus, the eastern part of the United States appears to have been hit the hardest, although it is also the part of the country that is more densely populated relative to the rest. In the same vein, note that southern California and the San Francisco Bay area come across as the worst hit western regions, but these are two of the largest U.S. population centers.

All in all, it's a great piece of data visualization. We've been hearing about job losses to the point where we're almost numb. This map brings those stories alive. Hat tip and thanks to my colleague, Andy Morriss, for pointing the way to this map.


Holy smokes! That's freggin scary! Sup with Michigan? They have been hurtin for a while! Texas has done surprisingly well. I guess its all relative but I have seen a lot of people with jobs lost locally. More than I have ever seen. Yet it looks as though we are unscathed.

Whoa -- just when you think you are inured to all the bad news, the visual is really powerful. My fourteen-year-old daughter just watched the map with me, and she understood its import.

BTW, if you are interested in learning about how these are made, there is a post of Hans Rosling on the TED website that explains them. See http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html
Very cool, and also aids in understaning third world poverty issues.

I'm in MI, the epicenter of the blow the jobs to hell and back hurricane. Let me tell you how rough it is in our state.

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