Exploring US Employment Data

US Employment Data

Time to get your hands dirty exploring some free, or “open,” data sets using Google’s Public Data Explorer. The Google Public Data Explorer has more than 100 different data sets that you can visualize in different ways, but for this assignment we will focus on two that are reputable and address the same topic—employment in the US.

The two data sets you will explore for this assignment are:


First, follow both links to their related data visualizations. Each page contains parameters on the left-hand sidebar that populate the chart with data. The tool will prompt you to choose some of these parameters. Choose a few parameters and examine the resulting charts. What about these visualizations interests, surprises, or informs you?

After you have familiarized yourself with both data sets and visualizations, perform a more focused analysis of each in order to discover knowledge that you can share with others.

  1. Create a visualization by purposefully choosing parameters that help you examine one aspect of unemployment and/or inequality (e.g., educational attainment, ethnicity, sex, age, or location).
  2. Write one paragraph that describes the data visualization you created, explaining what the visualization shows, why this interests you, and why it should be meaningful for others to understand.
  3. Share a link to your visualization, a screenshot of your visualization, and the paragraph you wrote with the class, using a shared space provided to you by your teacher.
  4. Explore your classmates’ posts, comparing them to your own. Think about any changes you might make, and provide feedback to your classmates.

This is an introduction to Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD), which is a primary purpose of analyzing big data sets. Use this opportunity to practice identifying meaningful data visualizations and writing informative explanations.