Sunday, we discussed the ratio of unemployed to job openings hitting a record level. As noted in the NYT, the carnage has been widespread across many industries:

“Shrinking job opportunities have assailed virtually every industry this year. Since the end of 2008, job openings have diminished 47 percent in manufacturing, 37 percent in construction and 22 percent in retail. Even in education and health services — faster-growing areas in which many unemployed people have trained for new careers — job openings have dropped 21 percent this year. Despite the passage of a stimulus spending package aimed at shoring up state and local coffers, government job openings have diminished 17 percent this year.”

Today, I wanted to direct your attention to a visualization of that, showing where those unemployed persons came from, via Many Eyes. Perhaps this helps to explain why the number of openings remains relatively low: Firms are still reducing headcount (nice euphemism), and not yet hiring.

Many Eyes allows you to upload a data set, and create your own visualization. It is a very cool tool, from IBM’s Collaborative User Experience, part of the Watson Research Center.

You can change this to sector, company, etc. Scroll over the bubbles to see the exact numbers laid off in each firm:

click for interactive chart
laid off visualization


Layoffs in the United States and more
Many eyes, 3/6/09

U.S. Job Seekers Exceed Openings by Record Ratio
NYT, September 26, 2009

Category: Employment, Web/Tech

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

22 Responses to “Visualizing Industry Job Losses”

  1. Thor says:

    Very cool – Am i supposed to see the number 8 in there?

  2. Christopher says:

    I don’t see government job losses anywhere on there.

  3. cvienne says:

    I’m still trying to visualize “whirrled peas”…

    And now you lay this on me?

  4. franklin420d says:

    Mmmm I loved whirrled peas – They go good with a side of nuklar arms.

  5. beaufou says:

    Nice and depressing since manufacturing and auto seem to be the winning colors and for those jobs to come back, we’ll need a miracle.

  6. [...] A cool tool for visualizing industry job losses.  (Big Picture) [...]

  7. Winston Munn says:


    “for those jobs to come back, we’ll need a miracle.”

    Or at the very least, a new film from Mel Brooks.

  8. [...] Visualizing Industry Job Losses | The Big Picture via [...]

  9. Concerned American says:

    HP and IBM didn’t make the chart best I can tell?????? It is interesting, but obviously incomplete.

  10. contrabandista13 says:

    Off Topic:


    Don’t get angry with me, I’m having a low frequency day and I’m just screwing around today…..

    I ran across this stream and I thought that you might find it funny, you know, with the Polanski news cycle and all…

    Best regards,


  11. Winston Munn says:

    I fully support a federally-funded retraining program to turn all the unemployed into hedge fund managers.

  12. nyet says:

    This chart is just a graphic illustration of what ordinary Americans get after 3 decades of slobbering on corporate and rich b*tt. “Labor market flexibility” = unemployed, without health insurance or pension, with no resources to retrain, and kids who have a worse future than you did.

    Thanks, Republicans.

  13. vachon says:

    I see ‘Real Estate” isn’t listed in aggregate. There’s banking and construction, but paper-pushing grunts (me) and sales people aren’t listed separately. Insult to injury, I tell ya.

  14. mcHAPPY says:

    @ Nyet:

    this issue is far beyond Republicans versus Democrats. This is a 30-plus year problem in the making – accelerated from the late 1990′s onwards – as presidents, their economic advisors and the brain trust in the FED have rammed credit and extremely easy money down the throat of anyone with a pulse and a desire to borrow. We are experiencing the pains of deleveraging. The real problem is the people and forces that will not let this occur. Until deleveraging has occurred there will be no sustainable growth and no sustainable recovery. We will forever be chasing our tails.

    Another problem is the perceived right to a great future. There are 6 billion people in the world – most of whom struggle to see tomorrow. This perceived right to have a great future is a resultant of hard work and sacrifice – something emerging nations are on the brink of realizing. Industrialized counties and their citizens – North America, Western Europe, and Japan – need to get back to what made their countries great in the first place – hard work and the desire to be self sufficient i.e. no handouts. Welfare, continuing claims, extended periods, CFC, home tax credit, bail outs, etc. etc. anyone? We’ve become soft and the emerging countries are ready to move on without our sorry asses.

  15. Marcus Aurelius says:


    If you peruse the history of the US, it’s not hard work and the desire to be self sufficient that made this country great. For the first 150 years it was westward expansion, slave and child labor, and immigration. After that, it was the leveled playing field made possible by the New Deal (during which the “handouts” included universal education, a standardized work week, and minimum wages, an end to child labor, and infrastructure developed by public stimulus), the civil rights movement, and social safety nets. Without those things, I don’t think we’d have been anywhere near as wealthy and stable as we had been until recently. A well-fed, educated, healthy population is in the best interests of any society (of course, there are costs, but you get what you pay for). Every man for himself leads to what we see in Afghanistan.

  16. dss says:

    Can we guess whose positions these were more than a decade ago?
    Who is this crazy person of the past? This person would be labeled anti-American, socialist, commie, anti-business, baby killer, homo-lover, not to mention unfit to hold office.

    This person is pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights, pro-Medicare for all Americans, wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and eliminate the mortgage and health deductions for the wealthy. Anti-NAFTA, pro-balanced budget, pro-strong dollar, supported 50 cent a gallon tax to pay down the deficit among other things.

    * Weak dollar means weak America. (Jul 1996)
    * Lack of Balanced Budget Amendment caused dollar’s decline. (Jul 1996)

    * United We Stand America: Focus on economy & debt. (Jan 1993)
    * Limit power to tax; expand power to intervene in market. (Nov 1992)
    * More federal involvement in business. (Nov 1992)
    * Change rules to foster small business investment & growth. (Jul 1992)

    *Gay rights are individual rights; fund AIDS blitz. (Jul 1996)

    *Homosexuality is an individual right. (Nov 1992)

    *Make drug treatment available to all addicts. (Jul 1992)
    * Supported 50-cent gas tax to pay off deficit. (Jul 1996)

    * Mexico provides escape from US environmental regulations. (Jan 1993)
    * This planet is our home; protect it for the future. (Jul 1992)

    * Get other nations to lower import barriers. (Jul 1996)
    * Trade deficit is as bad as budget deficit. (Jul 1996)
    * Trade deficit improves if we understand foreign culture. (Jul 1996)

    * Mexicans are good; NAFTA is not. (Jan 1993)
    * Fast Track makes more secrecy and less public input. (Jan 1993)
    * NAFTA is good for investors & bad for jobs. (Jan 1993)
    * NAFTA’s main beneficiary: 36 people who own half of Mexico. (Jan 1993)
    * NAFTA will cause a giant sucking sound as jobs go south. (Jan 1993)
    * Maquiladoras just steal jobs; it’s not really “trade”. (Jan 1993)

    * Long-term US trade strategy: focus on debt & jobs. (Jan 1993)
    * NAFTA allows prison-made Chinese textiles into US via Mexico. (Jan 1993)

    * Election reform: shorten elections, free air time. (Jul 1992)
    * Curb PACs, ban soft money, ban electoral college. (Jul 1992)

    * No right to own machine guns. (Jul 1996)
    * Enact strict gun control laws. (Nov 1992)

    * NAFTA is backdoor deregulation; lowers FDA standards. (Jan 1993)
    * Expand Medicare to cover all Americans. (Nov 1992)

    * Healthcare Short term: cost containment & focus on prevention. (Jul 1992)
    * Healthcare Long term: comprehensive national health policy. (Jul 1992)

    * Uphold Roe v. Wade
    * No Litmus Test for nominees
    * Enforce Clinic Access laws
    * Oppose Strict Constructionist judges

    * Manufacturing industry needed for self-defense. (Jan 1993)

    * Train our workforce better to beat foreign competition. (Jul 1996)

    * US farmers & ranchers will lose out to Mexico & Canada. (Jan 1993)
    * NAFTA’s beneficiaries: US companies that move to Mexico. (Jan 1993)
    * US is becoming a nation of hamburger flippers. (Jan 1993)
    * Jobs lost to NAFTA are not replaced at same pay. (Jan 1993)

    * Cut spending and raise taxes to pay off debt. (Nov 1992)
    * Raise marginal tax rates on the wealthy. (Jul 1992)
    * Disallow mortgage & health deductions for the rich. (Jul 1992)
    * Decrease capital gains tax to foster long-term thinking. (Jul 1992)

    * More spending on research & applying it commercially. (Jul 1996)
    * NAFTA will hurt US telecommunications companies. (Jan 1993)

    It is amazing how we are still arguing over these same things today and how much worse off we are as a nation.

  17. Thor says:

    “this issue is far beyond Republicans versus Democrats”

    Amen brother – what’s unfortunate is that so much of the populace (We The Sheeple if you will) are so distracted by this left vs right bullshit that they can’t see what’s really going on.

  18. beaufou says:

    “North America, Western Europe, and Japan – need to get back to what made their countries great in the first place – hard work and the desire to be self sufficient i.e. no handouts. Welfare, continuing claims, extended periods, CFC, home tax credit, bail outs, etc. etc. anyone? We’ve become soft”

    I don’t think this is what did us in.
    Welfare or to put it simply, helping the poor, is not the primary cause for our inflating national debt and the black hole caused by derivatives, otherwise poor asses would be hedge fund managers.
    Working hard? how about working at all with a few greedy bastards not off-shoring every job under the sun to get numbers looking better and a big bonus in return.
    And we need to stop buying shit we don’t need all the time.

  19. constantnormal says:

    Sadly, while the chart is a nice idea, I find it to be poorly implemented, with many overlapping categories.

    Take — as just the most egregious example — “manufacturing”. Are aircraft and autos not “manufactured”? And if we are talking only about non-industry-specific manufacturing when we refer to “manufacturing”, such as a fastener business (screws, nuts, bolts, clips — that sort of thing), what about the fastener company who has GM as it’s largest customer, with 90+% of its revenue coming from GM? These kind of situations abound out in the Real World.

    I would find it a whole lot more revealing chart if autos, aircraft, and manufacturing were lumped together under “manufacturing” — the individual companies could be shown as bubbles within the “manufacturing” bubble — and while I’m on the soapbox, why is there an “airline” category and also a separate “airlines” category? One is sufficient, and it should properly be included as a sub-category within the “transportation” category.

    Grouping all the manufacturing industries together under the meta-bubble “manufacturing” would go a long way toward making this usable, as well as grouping healthcare and pharmaceuticals together under a “health care” meta-bubble, and breaking the “health care” sub-bubble down into hospitals, labs, specialist clinics, and health insurers — all within the larger “health care” bubble. You could continue this exercise through all of the categories listed until you move from splitting logs to splitting hairs and further effort becomes nonproductive.

    Proper organization and attention to detail is essential in these highly complex charts if they are to mean anything. When you just grab a bunch of categories, and with zero thought as to how they are related or grouped, you just assign colors and throw them out there, it’s a disservice to the viewer.

    It’s a nice idea, but I can’t imagine how it could have been more poorly implemented (OK, I guess I can — do it in greyscale). My hat’s off to anyone who can extract any useful information from this thing as it currently stands.

  20. mcHAPPY says:


    While I was not referring to the US in particular – I am Canadian – I was more referring to the Allied countries following WWII (minus Japan, of course). With regards to the US (and it also applies to Canada) – I would argue that it was hard work and perseverence of the blue-collar average Joe that made the US great and most of these jobs were based upon manufacturing and other labour intensive field such as construction and agriculture. This is precisely why we have emerging markets – they have all the manufacturing jobs now along with agriculture and are creating/expanding infrastructure. We are experiencing a shift. This shift should, and this was the point I tried to make earlier, make all the aforementioned countries realize you don’t deserve a great future because you are a citizen of Germany, France, USA, Canada, Japan, England etc.

    With regards to the safety net – I do agree they are needed. However when the benefits keep getting extended further and further, when new programs are devised to keep the unemployed unemployed I take issue (this is happening in Canada as well). The issue is take any job you can get. If all you can find is McDonald’s then work at McDonald’s. Western societies have become soft in the sense people will only work if they feel the job is good enough for them and if not there are no repurcusions because a cheque will arrive in the mail because that is the political will of the day – north and south of the border.

    I realize my arguments are very generalized however lately I’m becoming more and more pissed off with the rhetoric that people DESERVE to have an owned home, cars, credit cards, gadgets, entertainment, etc. You work for this shit people – you don’t sit on your ass and pay for it through government intervention – or dare I say, maniuplation. And you don’t deserve this stuff because you have a cc or LOC or HELOC. We seem to have forgotten (not the people here, of course – well maybe HW) that eventually you have to pay for this shit. Ahhhhhhhhh, finally the source of my angst – everyone wants to keep living in la-la land and not pay the piper.

  21. Onlooker from Troy says:


    You wanted it to be usable and add value? You’ve got some high standards son! ;)

    I agree. It’s just more typical internet eye candy that somebody spent too much time on. Oooh, aaahhh