8. Revealing Change

In statistics, you can’t win arguments by invoking the truth... if the truth is knowable, statisticians would all be unemployed.

—Kaiser Fung, “Numbersense and true lies”

On a sluggish August 2013 afternoon, the national public television channel in Spain, Televisión Española (TVE), delivered some cheery news. After enduring five years of economic crisis, unemployment in the country experienced a noticeable drop, from 5.0 million people to 4.7. TVE’s audience was exposed to a chart similar to Figure 8.1 for a few short seconds. Uncork the champagne!


Figure 8.1 Unemployed workers in Spain. Do you notice something fishy?

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