In Business Week. The chart shows change in employment figures in nonfarm job sectors compared to a year ago. Tony thought the use of human figures instead of solid bars was distorting and confusing. He also felt the sort order made the chart more confusing., Tony of presents a chart from
Aside from the jpg image file format making the edges in the chart fuzzy, it was hard to read for other reasons. First, the sector names were not sorted by the number of human figures in the data bars. Second, the numbers in the data labels did not seem to correspond to the number of human figures in the data bars. Third, too much of the information was conveyed using just text rather than graphical elements. It was only after reading the various captions in the chart several times, and thinking of the data that was buried beneath the various images and numbers in the chart, that I realized what the chart was attempting to show.
I decided to redraw the chart. I made an informal panel chart, with one panel showing each sector’s fraction of the total US nonfarm workforce, and the other showing the change in number of jobs in each sector. I also made two versions of the chart, one sorted by change in jobs, the other by sector size.
Either of these charts is much better than the original. An XY chart is another option that the popular media avoid because it is considered too difficult to understand (naturally, anyone who reads their publications cannot possibly be smart enough). Since the readers of this blog are all of well above average intelligence, I present an XY chart here:
See US Employment Slump Chart – How To for a step-by-step description showing how I created the panel bar charts shown above.