3️⃣ Learning how to tackle percent change can help us understand the ups and downs.

In many countries across the world, Covid-19 caused a sudden decline in economic activity, followed by a rapid, or sluggish, recovery. As a result, staggering statistics became the norm. For instance, France’s industrial production fell by more than 20.6% in April from the previous month, but then rose by 19.9% in May. This yo-yo economy has made it more important than ever to understand how to calculate and interpret percent change. We made a comprehensive guide to understanding statistical ups and downs.

4️⃣ The pivot table is a powerful tool.

There is no simpler way for the average person to analyze a large dataset than the pivot table. Perhaps the most powerful tool in the spreadsheet wizard’s toolbox, the pivot table allows anyone to summarize thousands of rows of data in just a few clicks. Our history and explanation of the tool, including a video tutorial, will help you understand why Steve Jobs thought pivot tables were the “coolest thing ever.”

5️⃣ And comparing data over time can make it easier to parse trend from noise.

From the number of hours people are working in different countries to changing company stock prices, it’s often necessary to compare numbers on very different scales. The key to doing this well is indexing. When data points are indexed, they are all compared to their level at some particular point time. We wrote an explanation of why indexing is so essential, along with a final video tutorial by data editor Dan Kopf, to show how you can do it yourself.

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