The Big Picture Features Tableau Public

Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve declared the recession of 2008 and 2009 to be over, based on rising industrial production. Ever a skeptic, Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture took the time to dig into the data a little deeper with this post, which shows that many sectors of the economy have yet to recover. In his follow-up post, Barry used interactive charts created by us to further illustrate the point. Take a moment to explore the viz and make your own conclusions.

The first view shows that both capacity utilization (blue line) and industrial production (red line) have begun recovering from their recessionary lows. The second viz shows how individual industries have fared through the recession - it is no surprise that construction supplies are still suffering. The last view is a breakdown by capacity utilization which shows that the mining sector is using a greater share of its capacity than the manufacturing sector, but all have been recovering.

All of the views take advantage of gray reference lines showing recessionary periods. This simple addition gives all of the life to these visualizations; if you cannot see where the recessions are then how could you analyze whether or not the current one is over?


Hi Steve, To get the shading, you need to be working with a continuous variable. So, if you have a date variable on Columns (like in these graphs), click on Date and choose "Continuous" towards the bottom of the menu. Then right click on the axis in the view and choose "Add reference line". Then select "Band" in the dialog box at the top. You'll have to change the values to get what you would like. Cheers, Lori

I am trying to create a Unemployment visualization that includes recession period shading. How did you accomplish this in your visualization above?