BLS B Tables (Jobs By Industry) Treemap

I’m going to try something that is a little dependent on me always being on top of things. So I can tell you right now it’s a terrible idea.


I’ve been working for some time to make BLS data a little more accessible to the average person (read: the average wonk) and this something of a high point on that project.

In summary: Every month on the first Friday of the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistic releases two tables of jobs data. The A Tables contain employment, unemployment, the unemployment rate and labor force numbers. This is where we get the unemployment rate from. The B Tables contain detailed payroll data and a breakdown of payrolls by industry and sub-industry. This is where we get the “XYZ new jobs” number from. Due to the level of detail in the BLS B Tables, there is a lot of insight to be drawn from which industries are rising or falling (including public sector vs private sector jobs).

I’ve created a system where I can quickly snag all the BLS data from the most recent jobs report and display it in a treemap visualization, making it easy to explore.

So… here it is (interactive version).

And here’s a static version

The size of the boxes are proportional to the number of jobs in that industry and are colored according to the growth in that industry over a given time period. You can adjust the time period to color the boxes according to growth over the last month, the last 12 months, since Obama took office and over the last 10 years.

If you have a slower machine or are looking at it on a mobile device, you might be disappointed. It is a somewhat large visual and it is optimized for traditional desktop interaction. However, I’m hopeful that I can keep on top of this and post this visual monthly as the BLS numbers are released.


  1. […] Political Math | BLS B Tables (Jobs By Industry) Treemap […]

  2. Dull Pencil says:

    Nice website! Thanks for doing it and stepping through the graphs. I was wondering if anyone has more recent data than

    and whether these figures are exclusive of BLS LNS12000000. My idea is does the government count federal, military, and everybody else, and if so, could those three categories be added together to portray the total number of people doing something for pay?

  3. Too busy! Make a cleaner presentation.

  4. Freedm_Fighter says:


  5. Dull Pencil says:

    The Office of Personnel Management has counted 113 agencies to determine the number of employees in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. (I have since found a Census page that details some of these OPM figures.) OPM also has a column for uniformed military personnel.

    The OPM does not yet have figures for 2011, and I find no source that has comparable figures for military. I’m not sure how long to wait for the 2011 figures to be compiled…. Q1: Can I find 2011 data from another source?

    Q2: Can the OPM totals be added to the BLS’s LNS12000000: “(Seas) Employment Level Employed Number in thousands age 16 years and over” to approximate a total number of people employed in America? Perhaps military, legislative, executive, or judicial figures are already part of the BLS’s Employment figure? I have not found a good description of who is not counted in the Current Population Survey.

    I hope this is a somewhat better explanation of what I am trying to do. Thank you.

  6. […] Tables of the Day: BLS B Tables (Jobs By Industry) Treemap […]

  7. Russell Gold says:

    This is a great idea, although I have to agree that there is an awful lot of data presented all at once, and it is a bit hard to tell what’s going on.

    One immediate suggestion: can you get rid of the zoom effect in the interactive version when you select a radio button? It has the potential to allow immediate visual comparison of the various time periods, but the zoom makes that impossible.

  8. ZZMike says:

    Is there a place where they give employment numbers – how many employed (in all areas – or maybe broken down into farm and non-farm)?

    Tracking that number over time would be useful.

    Your chart is great – it’s used a lot in finance, to show stock market sectors.

  9. ZZMike says:

    …. I just found it – at the top of the graphic. But still, a table over time would be nice.

  10. Melissa says:

    Wow… I’m always impressed by how much work you put into visualizations. I am a statistics graduate student, with an interest in visualization… so I do appreciate the amount of work it can take to get everything just right.

    One minor suggestion (from years of presenting heat map data) – I’ve found that red-black-green color schemes, while very common, have two deficiencies.. (1) color blind people can’t read them and (2) I have found that its harder to distinguish different “near black” colors. I tend to use a blue-white-red color scheme instead to avoid these problems. Of course, I’m sure someone will try to claim that makes it too political…

    Once again, nice job.

  11. Brendan says:

    Nice. I had seen the gif image before, but the interactive is great. I would make one change – Instead of doing change in last 10 years, you should do “Change in Bush 2nd Term”, “Change in Bush 1st Term”, and if possible, “Change in Clinton 2nd Term”… THe change in the Obama time frame is so huge it overwhelms the change over 10 years…

  12. Ben Katz says:

    Love the interactive, but one suggestion- it’s hard to compare different periods when the picture sort of “zooms in” from afar. If it just changed immediately, no transition, it’d be much easier to see a difference.

    Love the visuals overall. Very nice work.

  13. sonalika says:

    How informative post,thanks for your useful information.
    Payroll services