Data Snapshot: Interactive Tools at Census.gov
In the Data Snapshot series, we will provide snapshots of ways that federal government agencies use data to achieve their missions. In this snapshot, we are showcasing the amazing results of data-focused initiatives at the US Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau uses information to gauge local and national development and determine the tools and resources it needs to fulfill its mission to be the nation’s leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy. The lack of comprehensive data sets and data literacy was limiting their ability to make evidence-based decisions. In 2000 the Census Bureau launched the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program. This small-scale startup was developed to help individual states track the health and vitality of their workforces by combining Census and state information to create a simplified, yet thorough, picture of the complex interactions between workers and businesses.
Early efforts were so successful that soon all 50 states and the District of Columbia were participating in the Census Bureau’s program. Over time, the program branched out, added worker data to the job data, and made the entire profile and detailed characteristics of local and national workforce characteristics for workers and businesses available to anyone with internet access. Business owners, as well as local and state government planners, can now use this information to develop strategic plans, drive community and growth policies, and manage business and community resources.
An integral component built into the DNA of the LEHD program, and that has proven to be a significant driver of the success of the program, is an interactive data tool called OnTheMap. The interactivity and visualization of this application make it possible for anyone to create complex queries that return meaningful results. The Census Bureau continues to work on enhancing existing visualizations, expand workforce characteristics, and search for new areas of collaboration to improve its labor market data products.
For more data visualization examples, visit the Data Visualization Gallery at the Census Bureau.
Cindi Johnson, MBA, is president of Thrive Development LLC and an instructor at Management Concepts. For more than 25 years, she has helped organizations establish strategies, policies, and programs that help businesses build agility and simplicity into their leadership teams and workforces. Cindi earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Strayer University and an MBA in Organizational & human resource development at the University of Mary Washington. In addition, she holds several professional certifications.