The shifting unemployment rate is released monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Typically, the ups and downs of those reports use a line chart like this:


While a chart like the one above shows the ups and downs of the national unemployment average, a line chart does not visualize key data in the understanding of unemployment: the regional nature of shifting unemployment. In one part of the country, employment can be robust while in another, unemployment can be rampant.

Using the statistical programming language “R,” and copyright-free music from an artist named Doctor Turtle, Nathan Yau of used county-by-county data from a 15-year span to visualize and score the ebb and flow of unemployment in a completely new way.

“I used the datasets to show the shifts over the past few decades,” explains Yau. “Watch out for the big shift between 2008 and 2011 — and then the decrease in unemployment leading up to the present.”

VIA | FlowingData

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