This week, we present more of our animated “bar race charts” made with Flourish.studio, in which you can see how change takes place over time. 

We have produced two versions, one for close study that takes five minutes and a very fast one that you can watch in just 30 seconds (below).

These two charts are of Personal Consumer Expenditures (PCE) from 1929 to 2018.  You can watch the most important categories rise and fall over that 89-year period.  The charts use key subcategories of consumer spending “by function” such as renting apartments, health insurance, and new cars.  We have replaced some of the government terms like “purchased meals” with the more colloquial “Restaurants, bars, and foodservice.”

Note that these spending numbers include spending on behalf of consumers by other entities, such as Medicare and insurance company payments to hospitals and doctors.

The spending patterns that result indicate the rise and fall of different industries, products, and services.  These changes underlie changes in the business world and in the work that all of us do. 

The rise of restaurants vs. the huge grocery store category is clear, as is the increase in health spending.  Tobacco did not fare as well.  Other categories like auto sales rise and fall with the times.

We hope you enjoy (and learn from) our animated history charts!

Gary Hoover

Executive Director, American Business History Center

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