This brings up many tricky questions. "Data", and "data as content" are in themselves difficult concepts, and I don't believe that Google likes "data" by itself as a form of content.
What do you mean by unique? Did you make measurements yourself and is this first publication, or did you compile and arrange data from other sources? If your numerical data is truly unique, then how is Google (or any else, for that matter) to evaluate it?
To consider the value of this kind of information with regard to search ranking, Google would need to rely much more on user signals that suggest value... and these would likely be linking, social signals and actual traffic, and signs of user engagement on the site. But having just lists of data on the page would be fighting all that.
As I understand it, data by itself cannot be copyrighted... and what turns data into something copyrightable and unique becomes a long and subtle discussion, one I think that's often difficult for lawyers.
In general, though, in the real world, offline or online, "data" relies on interpretation, commentary, citation, and evaluation to be perceived as valuable. It's not just a question of a verbal search engine needing verbal content containing keywords to rank it.
My guess is that Panda looks at data lists, at best, as a kind of "shallow content". More probably, though, it's dupe content. Even non-numerical data that is curated and re-arranged, unless there is considerable interpretation added to it, is not like to be considered unique. Many of the sites I see that have been hit by Panda are basically lists of things, rearranged by categories, with no original content or value added.
...I'm thinking of interspersing the comments with the tables to see if that will make a difference to Google. I think it might make for a better user experience anyway.
If it does make for a better user experience, then you're on the right track. I don't think that tabular presentation by itself is the problem, though a monolithic list of numbers probably would be.
It's likely that Google isn't seeing the originality that you see in the material. If you add sufficient commentary, you may be able to emphasize your vision of what that originality is... and if that commentary makes the material more valuable to users, it's definitely worth trying.