One of the good things about infographics is that it manages to simplify, in a very visual way, very complex data. Economic data is, perhaps, some of the hardest to simplify, especially since you risk losing too much of the big picture. But this infographic on job losses and gains over the past eight years gives us a good view of just how different the recession has been for different industries.
If you were in the medical field, for example, you’d be much less likely to have trouble finding work than if you were working in construction during the last few years. Some of these categories seem a little odd, though, like pairing education and health services. Healthcare is growing like gangbusters, but the US at least laid off a whole lot of teachers during the recession. I suppose even very detailed graphics can sometimes distort the data.
The publishers of the infographic have contacted me and let me know that my criticism of the Education/Health Services category is a bit unfair since that’s the BLS’s decision to lump them together, and that’s where the data for the infographic originated. So, it’s not a choice by the designer, just a rather odd decision on the part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mea culpa.