WSJ: Numbers Guy

The Numbers Guy examines numbers in the news, business and politics. Some numbers are flat-out wrong or biased, while others are valid and help us make informed decisions. Carl Bialik tells the stories behind the stats, in daily updates on this blog and in his column published every other Friday in The Wall Street Journal. Carl, who holds a degree in mathematics and physics from Yale University, also cowrites The Daily Fix, a sports column on He welcomes your comments at .

WSJ: The Numbers
The Numbers
copyright © 2015 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
The Wall Street Journal examines the way numbers are used, and abused.

Behind The Numbers: Weighing In
When it comes to commercial poultry and livestock, bigger appears to be better.
Behind The Numbers: Old Denali Measurement Still Measures Up
What may be most remarkable about the new measurement of Denali, taken this summer using modern tools, isn’t that it’s different. It’s how remarkably similar it is to the original taken in 1953.
October Jobs Report – The Numbers
Friday's job report appears to be the best so far for 2015, marked by brisk hiring, falling unemployment and rising wages. Here are the highlights.
Reader Mailbag: Oops and Yellow Alternatives
The Numbers readers write in on an error on our recent column on yellow-light timing, and with suggestions on how to ameliorate the issues that surround inconsistent timing and motorists' decisions on whether to stop or go.
Behind The Numbers: They Were All Yellow
A driver who can neither stop for a red light without jamming on the brakes nor clear the intersection without putting the pedal to the metal has hit the dilemma zone. The solution is a properly timed yellow light.
Behind The Numbers: Predicting Consumer Behavior
“Once we understand the factors affecting consumer behavior, we are then able to predict it,” the researchers reported.
World Statistics Day: Stats, Stats, Stats
In honor of the second World Statistics Day--started to promote the importance of data--here are some links and Twitter feeds for some of our favorite statistical sources.  
Behind The Numbers: Crowd Counts
When a crowd gathers for an event, the thickest part of the group typically presses forward toward the main stage, and from there the density of the crowd may appear uniform throughout. That’s rarely the case, and the skewed perception may lead to inaccurate estimates of the size of the turnout.
Why Social Security Checks Likely Won’t See a Big Increase in 2017, Either
Falling consumer prices over the past year means Social Security recipients won’t see a cost-of-living increase in January. And that decline will hold back any potential 2017 increase as well, even if inflation accelerates.
Behind The (Lottery) Numbers: Randomness
When Julie Leach of Three Rivers, Mich., won $310.5 million in the Powerball lottery late last month, it was with a $20 “easy pick” selection that included 10 different computer-generated number combinations. Many players pick lucky numbers or those with personal significance, increasing the chances of sharing prizes. Ms. Leach was the sole winner in this case.