Felix Salmon

Chart of the day: The USA’s lost decade

March 2, 2010

Free Exchange reprints this fantastic chart from the Economist:


The really fascinating charts, for me, are the second two. The one in the middle shows how consumption grew a little bit faster than income through the 70s, 80s, and 90s — but then the gap between the two completely spiralled out of control in the 2000s. There’s your credit boom and inevitable crunch right there.

House-price chart of the day

January 12, 2010

This is my new favorite toy: a fabulous interactive house-price charting tool from the Economist.

Information consumption charts of the day

December 9, 2009

I love these charts, from a new paper (37-page PDF here) on how much information Americans consume each day:

Information visualization of the day, unemployment edition

December 8, 2009

Latoya Egwuekwe deserves some kind of prize for this. Looking at the unemployment rate is one thing; really seeing it is another. Very, very well done.

Chart of the day, unemployment edition

November 9, 2009

Another great chart from the people at nytimes.com: this one shows how unemployment has risen among various different segments of the population, since January 2007. Here’s what’s happened to the 12-month average employment rate for black men without a high-school degree under 25 years old:

Chart of the day, underemployment edition

October 12, 2009

The Atlanta Fed charts how the number of people who work part-time but would like to work full time has doubled since the beginning of the recession. That’s not normal, even by the standards of previous harsh recessions:

Chart of the day: FHA delinquencies

October 9, 2009


Whitney Tilson passes on this chart, showing delinquencies at the FHA. He notes that the FHA is a crucial source of support for the housing market right now, providing a whopping 23% of all mortgages. If you have a subprime credit rating of 600, you only need to put 3.5% down to get an FHA loan; even if you have a positively wrecked credit rating of 500, you can still get a mortgage with only a 10% downpayment. And the people brokering a lot of these loans are often the selfsame shady characters who represented the worst face of the subprime bubble.

Map of the day, McDonald’s edition

September 23, 2009


This beautiful map comes from Stephen Von Worley, who has mapped the contiguous USA by how far any given point is from the nearest McDonald’s. Turns out the McFarthest Spot, somewhere in South Dakota, is 107 miles, as the crow flies, from a Golden Arch. There’s something for South Dakota to be proud of!

Silly chart of the day, data-fitting edition

August 29, 2009

Paul Kedrosky finds this chart in a Bloomberg story: it’s the kind of thing which really reinforces one’s belief in the wonders of data-fitting.