Tag Archives: Visualizations

Following are visualizations of data. Many are interactive and created using Tableau Public. In some cases I’ve recorded myself using the visualization to tell a story, and all you have to do is watch.

Airport traffic statistics, 2017

Airport traffic data presented in an interactive visualization, updated through 2017.

A few observations regarding Wichita airport traffic as compared to the nation:

  • Since 2014, passenger traffic at the Wichita airport is slightly higher, while rising sharply for the nation.
  • The number of departures has been declining in Wichita, while level and now increasing for the nation.
  • The number of available seats on departing flights from Wichita has been mostly level, while rising sharply for the nation.

To view and use the interactive visualization, click here.

Example from the visualization, showing Wichita compared to all airports. Click for larger.

Visualization: Zip code business patterns

An interactive visualization of business data by zip code.

Each year the United States Census Bureau publishes County Business Patterns (CBP). This data set also contains data by zip code.

The Bureau describes the data as follows:

County Business Patterns (CBP) is an annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry. This series includes the number of establishments, employment during the week of March 12, first quarter payroll, and annual payroll. This data is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas; analyzing economic changes over time; and as a benchmark for other statistical series, surveys, and databases between economic censuses. Businesses use the data for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets. Government agencies use the data for administration and planning. 1

This visualization holds data from 2007 to the most recent release. Click here to access and use the visualization.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. United States Census Bureau. County Business Patterns (CBP). Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cbp/about.html.

State and local government employee and payroll

Considering all government employees in proportion to population, Kansas has many compared to other states, and especially so in education.

Each year the United States Census Bureau surveys federal, state, and local government civilian employees. I’ve gathered this data and present it in an interactive visualization using several views and supplementary calculations. 1

The Census Bureau collects both counts of employees and payroll dollars. Comparisons based on the number of employees are useful, bypassing issues such as differing costs of living and salaries in general.

Considering all government employees, Kansas has 68.35 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees per thousand residents. Only two states and the District of Columbia have more.

For total elementary and secondary education employment, Kansas has 30.64 such employees (full-time equivalent) per thousand residents. Only two states have more.

Click here to learn more about the visualization and to use it yourself.

In this example from the visualization showing Kansas and nearby states, Kansas stands out. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. For details and to access the visualization, see here: https://wichitaliberty.org/visualization-state-and-local-government-employment/.

Visualization: State and local government employment

A visualization of federal, state, and local government civilian employees by state and function.

Each year the United States Census Bureau surveys federal, state, and local government civilian employees. 1 The amount of payroll for a single month (March) is also recorded. I’ve made this data available in an interactive visualization.

The Census Bureau describes the data:

The survey provides state and local government data on full-time and part-time employment, part-time hours worked, full-time equivalent employment, and payroll statistics by governmental function (i.e., elementary and secondary education, higher education, police protection, fire protection, financial administration, central staff services, judicial and legal, highways, public welfare, solid waste management, sewerage, parks and recreation, health, hospitals, water supply, electric power, gas supply, transit, natural resources, correction, libraries, air transportation, water transport and terminals, other education, state liquor stores, social insurance administration, and housing and community development).

The survey provides Federal Government data on total employees, full-time employees, and total March payroll by governmental function. There is no detail available for part-time employment, part-time hours worked, full-time equivalent, or full-time or part-time employee payrolls. Three functions apply only to the Federal Government and have no counterpart at the state and local government levels: national defense and international relations, postal service, and space research and technology. 2

In the visualization, I’ve multiplied the March payroll number by 12 to produce an approximation of annual payroll. Using each state’s population for each year, I’ve also computed the annual payroll on a per-resident basis, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees per thousand residents, and the number of residents per FTE employee.

Click here to access the visualization.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. United States Census Bureau. Annual Survey of Public Employment & Payroll (ASPEP). Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/apes.html.
  2. United States Census Bureau. Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/apes/about.html.

Wichita metropolitan area population in context

The growth of population in Wichita compared to other areas.

Several Wichita city officials have noted that the population of the City of Wichita now exceeds that of Cleveland. This, to them, is a point of pride and sign of momentum in Wichita.

It’s true, at least the population facts. For 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population of Wichita as 389,902 and Cleveland as 385,809. From the 2010 census, Wichita’s population was 382,368; Cleveland’s 396,815. 1

That Wichita moved up in population rank is more due to Cleveland losing 11,006 people (2.8 percent loss) while Wichita gained 7,534 people (2.0 percent gain).

Looking only at city population, however, misses the fact that the Cleveland metropolitan statistical area population is 2,058,844 compared to the Wichita MSA at 645,628, a difference of 3.2 times.

For most types of economic and demographic analysis, metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) are preferred to cities proper. The Census Bureau notes: “The general concept of a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area is that of a core area containing a substantial population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with that core.” 2

Wichita officials usually recognize this and have started to emphasize the importance of the region (the MSA), not just the city. Many of our civic agencies have named or renamed themselves like these examples: Greater Wichita Partnership, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth, Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, Wichita Area Planning Organization, Regional Economic Area Partnership of South Central Kansas, South Central Kansas Economic Development District.

Further, there is more economic data available at the MSA level (compared to the city level) from agencies like Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis. This data includes important measures like employment, labor force, unemployment rate, gross domestic product, and personal income.

City boundaries are still important, as Wichita, for example, can’t impose property or sales taxes outside the city limits. Nor can it write laws affecting neighboring towns or the county.

But not even schools respect city boundaries, with several large suburban school districts (Andover, Maize, Goddard) reaching far into the city limits of Wichita.

While Wichita may be the 50th largest city, its rank is not as high when considering metropolitan areas. Worse, its rank is slipping as other areas grow at a faster clip. In the 1990 and 2000 census, Wichita was the 80th largest metro area. By 2010 Wichita’s rank had fallen to 82, and for 2017 the rank is 89.

Growth of Wichita MSA population and economy

Wichita officials incessantly talk about momentum. Using a misguided measure of regional size and growth (Wichita is larger than Cleveland!) is one example.

Unfortunately, there are many other examples. Recently Wichita’s mayor spoke of a “thriving city” and that “we’re going to continue our growth pattern.” 3

Recently Greater Wichita Partnership president Jeff Fluhr told a group of young people this:

From the innovation campus at Wichita State University and development along the Arkansas River in downtown, including a new baseball stadium, to the conversations happening now about a new convention center and performing arts facility, Fluhr said the momentum is pushing to keep Wichita on par with the development of other communities around the country.

That development, which has in recent years expanded to incorporate the entire region, is a critical component to attracting and retaining talent — the exact kind of talent in the ICT Millennial Summit crowd. 4

In January Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell said, “It’s hard to find a time when we’ve had more momentum.” 5

In announcing his candidacy for Sedgwick County Commission, Wichita city council member Wichita City Council Member Pete Meitzner (district 2, east Wichita) said, “We have enjoyed great progress and growth during my two terms as a City Council member and I plan to do my part to assure Sedgwick County is part of this continued success.” 6

But these pictures — thriving, growth, progress, momentum — just aren’t true, according to the best statistical evidence. Wichita is shedding jobs. 7 In 2016 the Wichita economy shrank. 8 Our labor force is declining. 9 Sedgwick County shows a decline in employees and payroll in 2016. 10

Finally, as can be seen in the nearby chart of population growth in the Wichita metro area and a few other examples. Wichita’s growth rate is low, and is slowing. (The other metro areas in the chart are our Visioneering peers plus a few others.)

It is terribly unfortunate that the Wichita economy is not growing. What’s worse is the attitude of our city leaders. If we don’t confront our problems, we probably won’t be able to solve them.

In an interactive visualization I’ve prepared from census data, you can compare growth in metropolitan statistical areas. Click here to access the visualization.

Wichita and other population growth. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More, Ranked by July 1, 2016 Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Release Date: May 2017
  2. Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/metro-micro/about.html.
  3. Weeks, Bob Mayor Longwell’s pep talk. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/politics/mayor-longwells-pep-talk/.
  4. Daniel McCoy. ICT Millennial Summit: Wichita is having a moment. Wichita Business Journal, November 30, 3017. Available at https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2017/11/30/ict-millennial-summit-wichita-is-having-a-moment.html.
  5. Heck, Josh. Emerging Leaders panel offers insight into eco-devo strategies. Available at https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2018/01/11/emerging-leaders-panel-offers-insight-into-eco.html.
  6. Bill Wilson. Wichita council member unveils bid for county commission. Wichita Business Journal, November 30, 3017. Available at https://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2018/02/13/wichita-council-member-unveils-bid-for-county.html.
  7. Weeks, Bob. Wichita unemployment rate falls. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/economics/wichita-unemployment-rate-falls-2018-03/.
  8. Weeks, Bob. Wichita economy shrinks. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/economics/wichita-economy-shrinks/.
  9. Weeks, Bob. Why Wichita may not have the workforce. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/why-wichita-may-not-have-the-workforce/.
  10. Weeks, Bob. Business patterns in Kansas counties. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/economics/business-patterns-in-kansas-counties/.

Visualization: Metropolitan statistical area populations

An interactive visualization of populations of metropolitan statistical areas, or MSA, in the United States.

For most types of economic and demographic analysis, metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) are preferred to cities proper. The United States Census Bureau notes: “The general concept of a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area is that of a core area containing a substantial population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with that core.” 1

There is more economic data available at the MSA level (compared to the city level) from agencies like Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis. This data includes important measures like employment, labor force, unemployment rate, gross domestic product, and personal income.

I’ve gathered data from the Census Bureau and present it in an interactive visualization using Tableau Public. Click here to access the visualization.

Data is from Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. For counties, municipios, metropolitan statistical areas, micropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and combined statistical areas, March 2018. Also earlier Census Bureau publications.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

Visualization: Highways in the states

Figures are for total lane miles, urban and rural, using data reported by the Federal Highway Administration for 2016. 1

Besides a graphic table of population, total lane miles, and lane miles per thousand persons, there are three scatter plots. These plot each state’s population, area, and population density compared to lane miles.

Click here to access the visualization at Tableau Public.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Policy Information. Available at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics.cfm.

State highways

Kansas has a lot of highway miles compared to its population. Interactive visualization included.

Kansas has nearly 100 lane miles of highway per thousand persons, a value exceeded by only five states, with two of those barely higher than Kansas. This figure is for total lane miles, urban and rural, using data reported by the Federal Highway Administration for 2016. 1

Besides a graphic table of population, total lane miles, and lane miles per thousand persons, there are three scatter plots. These plot each state’s population, area, and population density compared to lane miles.

In each plot, I’ve identified Kansas. (In the interactive visualization you can identify each state.) In all three charts, Kansas is an outlier.

These charts do not include Alaska, California, and Texas. These three states are outliers — Alaska because of its area, and the other two because of their size and high population. In the interactive visualization, of course, you may include these states and exclude any others.

Click here to access and use the visualization.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.
Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Policy Information. Available at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics.cfm.

Visualization: Highways in the states

Figures are for total lane miles, urban and rural, using data reported by the Federal Highway Administration for 2016. 1

Besides a graphic table of population, total lane miles, and lane miles per thousand persons, there are three scatter plots. These plot each state’s population, area, and population density compared to lane miles.

Click here to access the visualization at Tableau Public.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. Federal Highway Administration, Office of Highway Policy Information. Available at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics.cfm.

State government tax collections

An interactive visualization of tax collections by state governments.

Each year the United States Census Bureau collects a summary of taxes collected by each state for 5 broad tax categories and up to 25 tax subcategories. 1 I’ve collected this data and made it available in an interactive visualization.

You may recall that Kansas raised personal income tax rates in 2017 and made the new rate retroactive to January 1, 2017. But that change doesn’t seem to have affected this data. For 2016, Kansas collected $768 per person in individual income taxes, and for 2017, $799. Here’s why:

For most states, including Kansas, this data is for the fiscal year, not the calendar year. 2 New withholding tax tables were not available until June 27, 2017, just three days before the end of fiscal year 2017. 3

Click here to access the visualization.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. United States Census Bureau. Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections (STC). Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/stc.html.
  2. United States Census Bureau. State Government Tax Collections: 2017 Technical Documentation. Available at https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/stc/technical-documentation/complete-technical-documentation/statetaxtechdoc2017.pdf.
  3. Kansas Department of Revenue. New Kansas income tax withholding tables now available. Available at https://www.ksrevenue.org/CMS/content/06-27-2017-NewWHTables.pdf.

Business patterns in Kansas counties

Census data shows that some counties in Kansas are growing faster than others.

Each year the United States Census Bureau publishes County Business Patterns (CBP). The Bureau describes the data as follows:

County Business Patterns (CBP) is an annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry. This series includes the number of establishments, employment during the week of March 12, first quarter payroll, and annual payroll. This data is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas; analyzing economic changes over time; and as a benchmark for other statistical series, surveys, and databases between economic censuses. Businesses use the data for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets. Government agencies use the data for administration and planning. 1

What does this data tell us about counties in Kansas? I gathered the data back to 2005 and made the data in an interactive visualization available here. In the nearby illustration I show the data for large Kansas counties, starting in 2010. (In the visualization you may adjust all these parameters.) The data is indexed so that we can see relative changes independent of the size of the county.

In the chart, we can see that some Kansas counties are doing better than others. Notably, Sedgwick County shows a decline in employees and payroll in 2016.

Example from the visualization showing Kansas counties. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. United States Census Bureau. County Business Patterns (CBP). Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cbp/about.html.

Visualization: County Business Patterns (CBP)

Each year the United States Census Bureau publishes County Business Patterns (CBP). The Bureau describes the data as follows:

County Business Patterns (CBP) is an annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry. This series includes the number of establishments, employment during the week of March 12, first quarter payroll, and annual payroll. This data is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas; analyzing economic changes over time; and as a benchmark for other statistical series, surveys, and databases between economic censuses. Businesses use the data for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and developing budgets. Government agencies use the data for administration and planning. 1

This interactive visualization presents this data back to 2005, for NAICS code 00, which is “Total for All Sectors.” Click here to access.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. United States Census Bureau. County Business Patterns (CBP). Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cbp/about.html.

NAEP results for 2017 available in interactive visualizations

When properly considered, Kansas often underperforms the nation in the most recent assessment of “The Nation’s Report Card.”

The results for the 2017 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, were recently released. I’ve prepared interactive visualizations of some of the results. To access the visualizations, click on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

When considering NAEP results, it’s important to consider subgroups, such as race/ethnicity and school lunch status, which is a proxy for poverty. It’s important because states vary widely in the composition of subgroups.

For example, consider an accompanying example from the visualization. We see that when considering all students, Kansas does better than the national average in percent of students performing as basic or better. This is true in all four combinations of grade and subject.

Looking at black students alone, however, we see that Kansas underperforms the nation, except in one instance where there is a tie.

For Hispanic students alone, Kansas does better in all instances except for one tie.

For white students alone, Kansas underperforms the nation in three instances, and outperforms in one.

This statistical anomaly is known as Simpson’s Paradox. It may appear when comparing subgroups to aggregated data when the proportional composition of subgroups varies between populations, in this case the states. For grade 4 reading, 64 percent of students in Kansas were white. For the nation, it was 49 percent. This is a difference in composition that must not be ignored.

The relatively low proportion of minority students is why Kansas appears to perform better than the nation. The apparent superior performance of Kansas melts away when looking at subgroups.

Kansas and the nation, percent at basic or better. Click for larger.
Kansas and the nation, percent at proficient or better. Click for larger.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

An interactive presentation of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for the states, grouped by race/ethnicity, and then by lunch status.

The U.S. Department of Education, through the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), conducts the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) every other year. Known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” it is “the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.” 1

NAEP is useful because the test is created and administered independently of the states: “Since NAEP assessments are administered uniformly using the same sets of test booklets across the nation, NAEP results serve as a common metric for all states and selected urban districts.”2 This is important because studies have shown that states vary widely in the rigor of the tests they create themselves: “The key finding is that the variation among state achievement standards continues to be wide.” 3

The NAEP tests are administered at several grade levels and for a variety of subjects, but the primary focus is on math and reading, at grades four and eight. I’ve gathered test scores from NCES several test years, for these two subjects and two grade levels, with the results available by race/ethnicity in one visualization, and by lunch eligibility in another. Eligibility for the school lunch program is used as a proxy for household income, with “eligible” meaning the student is from a low-income household.

I gathered the data using the NAEP Data Explorer available at NCES 4 and used Tableau Public to present the data. The data includes the scale score for each state, grade, and subject, along with the percentage of students scoring “Below Basic,” “At or above basic,” “At or above proficient,” and “At Advanced.”

For the visualization based on race/ethnicity, click here.

For the visualization based on school lunch status, click here.

Example visualization. Click for larger.
Example visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. National Assessment of Educational Progress. About. Available at nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/.
  2. ibid.
  3. National Center for Education Statistics. About the NAEP State Mapping Analyses. Available at nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/studies/statemapping/about.aspx.
  4. Available at https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ndecore/landing.

Visualization: Tax collections by the states

An interactive visualization of tax collections by state governments.

Each year the United States Census Bureau collects data from the states regarding tax collections in various categories. 1 I present this data in an interactive visualization.

The values are for tax collections by the state only, not local governmental entities like cities, counties, townships, improvement districts, cemetery districts, library districts, drainage districts, watershed districts, and school districts.

Of note: Sometimes changes made by states may not align with this data. A possible reason is that for most states this data is reported for the fiscal year, while many changes to tax law affect the calendar year. 2

By using the tabbed views, you can compare tax collections in different states. Of particular interest is the “Total by State” tab. Here you can select a number of states and compare their tax burdens. (Probably three or four states at a time is the practical limit.) This data is presented on a per-person basis.

Data is as collected from the United States Census Bureau, Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections, and not adjusted for inflation. Visualization created using Tableau Public.

Click here to access the visualization.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.
Example from the visualization. Click for larger.
Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. United States Census Bureau. Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections (STC). Available at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/stc.html.
  2. “The tax revenue data pertain to state fiscal years that end on June 30, 2017 in all but four states (NY, TX, AL, MI). Amounts shown for these four states reflect the different timing of their respective fiscal years, which were the 12-month periods ending on March 31, 2017 for New York, August 31, 2017 for Texas, and September 30, 2017 for Alabama and Michigan.” United States Census Bureau. State Government Tax Collections: 2017 Technical Documentation. Available at https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/stc/technical-documentation/complete-technical-documentation/statetaxtechdoc2017.pdf.

Employment in metropolitan areas

An interactive visualization of labor force, employment, and unemployment rate for all metropolitan areas in the United States.

The example from the visualization shown below shows the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area and All Metro Areas. Data is through January 2018. Of note regarding Wichita:

  • Since the Great Recession ended, the unemployment rate in Wichita has fallen, as it has nationwide.
  • At the same time, employment (the number of people working) in Wichita, has been steady or rising slightly. Nationwide, employment has been growing.
  • At the same time, the civilian labor force in Wichita has been mostly falling, while rising nationwide.

When using the visualization you can adjust the date range to focus on recent years, or any other time period.

To learn about the data included and to use the visualization, click on Civilian labor force and unemployment by metropolitan area.

Example from the visualization., showing Wichita and All metro areas Click for larger.

Employment in the states

An interactive visualization of the civilian labor force, employment, and unemployment, for each state.

In the example from the visualization shown below, which shows indexed employment growth, you can see that Kansas (the highlighted line) is not faring well. There aren’t many states whose lines are below that of Kansas.

This data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the United States Department of Labor. It is current through January 2018.

Click here to use the visualization and to learn about the meaning of the data series. There are four views of the data, accessible through the tabs along the top. You may select a time frame and any combination of states. By clicking on the color legend, you can emphasize the lines for one or more states. (Ctrl+click to add more than one line.)

Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, example showing Kansas highlighted. Click for larger.

Visualization: Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population

An interactive visualization of the civilian labor force, employment, and unemployment, for each state.

Source of data is Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the United States Department of Labor. The title of the data series is States and selected areas: Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, January 1976 to date, seasonally adjusted (TXT). This may be found on the BLS page State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly), specifically the file https://www.bls.gov/web/laus/ststdsadata.txt.

BLS offers these definitions of the data elements in this visualization: 1

  • Civilian labor force. Included are all persons in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older classified as either employed or unemployed. (See the definitions below.)
  • Employed persons. These are all persons who, during the reference week (the week including the 12th day of the month), (a) did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family, or (b) were not working but who had jobs from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs. Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job.
  • Unemployed persons. Included are all persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4 week-period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.
  • Unemployment rate. The unemployed percent of the civilian labor force [i.e., 100 times (unemployed/civilian labor force)].

Click here to use the visualization. There are four views of the data, accessible through the tabs along the top. You may select a time frame and any combination of states. By clicking on the color legend, you can emphasize the lines for one or more states. (Ctrl+click to add more than one line.)

Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, example. Click for larger.
Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, example showing Kansas highlighted. Click for larger.


Notes

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Frequently Asked Questions. Available at https://www.bls.gov/lau/laufaq.htm#Q03.

Wichita check register

Wichita spending data presented as a summary, and as a list.

As part of an ongoing transparency project, I asked the City of Wichita for check register data. I’ve made the data available in a visualization using Tableau Public. Click here to access the visualization. To access a simple list of the data, click here.

Analyzing this data requires a bit of local knowledge. For example, there is a vendor named “Visit Wichita” that started to receive monthly payments in March 2015. What about payments for January and February? Those were made to a vendor named “Go Wichita,” which changed its name to “Visit Wichita.”

Similarly, there are payments made to both “Westar Energy” and “Westar Energy — EDI.” These are the same entities, just as “Visit Wichita” and “Go Wichita” are the same entity. To the city’s credit, the matching pairs have the same vendor number, which is good. But resolving this requires a different level of analysis.

Of note, it looks like there were 2,605 checks issued in amounts $20 or less over a period of nearly three years. Bank of America has estimated that the total cost of sending a business check ranges from $4 to $20.

It is by now routine for governmental agencies to post spending data like this, but not at the City of Wichita. Upon inquiry, city officials told me that the present financial management system “does not include many modern system features such as an ‘open checkbook.’” An “open checkbook” refers to a modern web interface where citizens can query for specific data and perhaps perform other analysis. An example is Denver’s open checkbook.

We’ve been promised a modern system for many years.

While the next-generation Wichita financial system will probably have such a feature, there’s no reason why citizens can’t experience some of the benefits now. The spreadsheet of spending data could easily be posted on the city’s website on a monthly basis. People like myself will take that data and make it more useful, as I did. The city has demonstrated that it is able to post documents to its website, so there is no reason why this should not be happening.

Kansas tax receipts

News about Kansas tax receipts for November 2017, along with an interactive visualization.

Following is a press release from the Kansas Department of Revenue regarding November 2017 tax receipts. For an interactive visualization of this data, see Visualization: Kansas tax receipts.


December 1, 2017
Tax receipts show promise of improved economy

TOPEKA–The state has collected $258.75 million over last fiscal year at this time, totaling over 11 percent growth in collections according to data from the latest revenue report released Friday.

So far this fiscal year that started in July, the state has collected $1.09 billion in total individual income tax, which amounts to $176.74 million over last year. In the same time, sales tax collections total $985.71 million, putting it $41.64 million over last year or over 4 percent growth. Corporate income tax continues the multi month trend of outperforming the previous year, hitting a value of $30.51 million over last year’s cumulative collections.

“Sales tax receipts have reached what appears to be stable growth above last year’s collections,” Revenue Secretary Sam Williams said. “Individual income tax collections are also above last year by a wide margin, but it’s difficult to distinguish the impact of the recent tax increase versus economic growth, and we won’t be able to discern that until April.

November tax receipts totaled $463.50 million, which is $62.23 million over November last year. Individual income tax collections totaled $207.62 million for the month, while sales tax revenue came in at $192.63 million. Corporate income tax totaled $379,518.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.