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Among the many ways to understand data collected over time is to present and analyze it using what are called “moving averages.” Somewhat like smoothing data rather than using a single linear trend line, the topic of an earlier column, moving averages get away from overall metrics such as annual figures and instead show trends during shorter time periods, such as monthly or quarterly, and how they are varying within those periods. As each month or quarter contributes its data, the moving average changes.

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