3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 9, 2016 1:44 PM by John Croft

    Economic Indicators

    John Croft

           Just wanted to share my viz below and get everyone's brain thinking about our current economy. Link to tableau public below.


      Tableau Public



        • 1. Re: Economic Indicators

          Hey John,


          Thanks for sharing! This would be a perfect piece for Viz Talk. I'd also be interested in your thoughts on the viz!

          • 2. Re: Economic Indicators
            Michael Hesser

            Hi John!

            Great time for a viz like this!


            I enjoyed the great amount of detail you included in the recession Tooltips. That was fun exploring!


            What was more difficult for me was the overall amount of information presented at one time: I suffered from a little "analysis paralysis."


            Perhaps your viz would become more user-friendly for people like me if you offered some visibility options? For example, instead of showing every economic indicator at one time, what if you let the user select which he/she wants to see? That might keep your viz a little cleaner, as well as allow the user to explore the data and find correlations (and who doesn't like that?)


            An added benefit of this is to allow the user to see values that are currently hidden. Some of those Peak Unemployment marks are really buried!


            Other thoughts:

            • I think there are quite a few different types of marks, which for me made it a little on the busy side. What if you changed the Buffet Indicator and Home Price Index into lines? If you stick with what you have now, it might be helpful to indicate that Peak Unemployment is a Gantt bar.
            • For an old man like me, your color scheme was a little difficult to make out (the browns & dark grey/black just kinda blended together).
            • And since we're talking about color, perhaps a slight modification to the deviation band colors? A light green (or blue) if it's within 1 deviation, yellow if it's within 2 deviations, and red (or orange) if it's beyond 2 deviations. Values in white are REALLY off the chart, right?
            • What about adding other types of filters to clean up the view? Such as deviation bands on/off or recession bands on/off? ("Deviation Bands" sounds like a concert I'd LOVE to go to 20 years ago )
            • And since I LOVE really digging into the data, what if you allowed the user to control the time period viewed? For example, I might like to look at just the last 48 years (just to see how the economy has fared since I came bawling into it)


            Thank you so much for sharing your viz! Let's see how it unfolds in 2017!

            • 3. Re: Economic Indicators
              John Croft

              Thank you Diego and Michael. I'm actually just pleased someone cared enough about my first viz to actually comment on it I've only be a BI Developer using Tableau full time for about 6 months now (about 3 when this viz was started. I actually enjoyed putting the data together across multiple tab in a single xlsx workbook and working with sheet joins in Tableau. Joining on dates is what's causing the different line types (i.e. straight lines vs dots).


              I think my intent is somewhat twofold. First, I wanted to catalog recessions over the past 100 years and let readers see a brief history on the tool tips. But I also wanted to to include some economic indicators across this time frame as well - not to suggest 'Winter is coming' (or a recession in this case) - but just to make people aware of what the present looks like compared to the past and try to accomplish this with a single picture on a page. So I don't know if a recession is around the corner, but what I think I see is recessions happen less often than the did on the first 50 to 60 years of the graph and seem to have higher magnitude of impact to the economy. I think a great follow up piece to something like this could be correlating it to Government economic policy and regulations along the way. There's a lot more I'd like to do with this but I'd also like to do something new where this seems to be 'good enough for now'. But I'm fortunate to have half a Friday twice a month to focus on whatever I want. So maybe I'll spend some time making some of the revisions suggested above. I really appreciate the feed back. Especially on the allowing user to remove measure and only look at one or two at a time. As and FYI, it seems Tableau Public allows the 'CTRL Click' functionality. So if you click on CAPE in the legend, the light blue line will stand out while all the other measure fade. But then if you hold control and left click on another measure - say Fed Funds Rate - only these two measure will stand out while the others are faded.


              I do have several distinct chart types included, which I enjoyed find a combination I liked the look of. So the recession shading is and area chart, and yes the peak unemployment is using a gantt chart with line charts for all the other measures. The dots appear due to measures reported monthly or quarterly vs daily.


              As for the Green and Red shaded areas between the deviations: The green is intended to be the region where approx. 68% of values should fall. Since the graph is symmetric. Values should fall in the upper red area 13 to 14% of the time and in the lower red area 13 to 14% of the time. I'm not as concerned about the lower half of the chart as those are the 'good times' from and investing stand point. So values shoudl occur above the upper read are about 2% of the time. So once it starts creeping to that point, one should start thinking about how sustainable those prices are and what it means for them if the bottom falls out.


              You shoudl be able to move the date range filter at the top to narrow the view to a time period your interested in. But things for the suggestions, Micheal. I seriously hope to look at this int he coming week and revise. I'll send out an update reply when I do.



              Thank you,




              PS - sorry for any typos above.