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Bureau of Labor Statistics > Office of Survey Methods and Research > Publications > Browse Research Papers

Numbers as Pictures: Examples of Data Visualization from theBusiness Employment Dynamics Program

Charles M. Carson

Abstract

The Bureau of Labor Statistics presents a wealth of information to the general public. Much of this information is published in the form of tables and simple charts; however recent research has shown that humans are able to interpret information from visual cues better than they can interpret through tables of numbers. This paper applies principles from leading researchers in the field of data visualization, such as Dr Edward Tufte, to the datasets available from the Business Employment Dynamics program. New ways of thinking about the presentation of information, combined with tools from Microsoft Excel, SAS, and Google, can better inform the public about current issues in labor statistics.