Weird Data: Addendum

At the end of What’s Weird About This Data, and Why?, I mentioned that the knowledge gained by analyzing one outlier could tell us where to look for others. When I first looked at the big graph, growth looked vaguely exponential. But knowing that 2004 saw a whole new business type (Individual Landlords) added, things start to seem a bit more linear in the before and after. And if that’s the case then 2015 looks like another unusual spike.


I’d originally guessed that maybe the most recent full year would always be the biggest because it includes businesses that might fail to materialize, and let their license expire, but since I knew from 2004 that a new business type could lead to unusual behavior, I did a similar summary of the NAICS code descriptions (again, only showing the first few here).

Code Description Count
Taxi Service 1019
Lessors of Residential Buildings 526
Lessors of Nonresidential Buildings 86
Residential Remodelers 86

Hoo boy, that is a lot of taxi services. If you’ve been paying attention, both to me and to the state of personal transport trends, you can probably guess the story: Tacoma requires all Uber drivers to have individual business licenses, just like traditional cab drivers.

It seems reasonable to expect this kind of thing will show up more and more, as these middleman services like this enable individuals to easily sign-up as independent contractors in a variety of industries.

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