There Is No Such Thing As The U.S. Economy

While working at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in New York City, I recall overhearing a colleague comment that there is no such thing as the U.S. economy.  Instead, he said, there are a lot of little economies.  That really stuck with me and in this vein I am proud to share what I’ve been up to lately.

I have been thinking about the employment situation in the United States, especially after the Great Recession.  I wanted to get a feel for how many jobs have returned keeping in mind that each metro could have a different story.

gr-employment-indexI use R to create metro level indexes of employment and then visualized them.  I found the visualization so intriguing that I created a Shiny app.  The app allows you to produce what I lovingly refer to as moustache graph as seen to the left.  You can view the difference between the Midland, TX and the Dalton, GA’s post Great Recession employment stories.  When viewing the visualization, I am inclined to think that my colleague at the BLS was right.  There is no such thing as the U.S. economy.

Note: You can access the app at and read how the index was derived at