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US Manufacturing Sector data visualization – Part 1

I recently completed an Udemy online course to learn how to use Tableau. To reinforce my learning, I selected a National Association of Manufacturers dataset for additional practice. The chosen data summarizes United States manufacturing sector output, number of firms, and employment. The dataset is only available as a PDF — this was perfect since PDF data ingestion and manipulation was a learning objective I wanted to practice.

For the practice, I imagined a research objective to recommend sales territories for a fictitious company that sold services to U.S. manufacturing companies. The constraints are that each sales territory must group contiguous states and have a similar manufacturing market size. A secondary research objective is to confirm the expected correlation among manufacturing output (i.e. Sales) and the number of manufacturing firms and/or employment in each state.

My first exploratory visualization is a three-part dashboard:

  • A heat-map of the contiguous U.S. states that displays each state’s annual manufacturing sales, in billions of U.S. dollars, and
  • two bar-charts that display the number of firms and manufacturing employment in each state.

For this first iteration, I created an interaction that highlights the state’s values in the bar-charts whenever hovering over the particular state on the state heat-map.

data visualization screenshot
Iteration #1 screenshot

In my next iteration, I plan to iterate on potential sales regions and display the key metrics for each proposed region to allow comparison to the other regions. Aside from this next analysis, I would also like to learn how to overcome some shortcomings in the first iteration:

  • Remove the vertical scroll on the bar-chart or (better?) evolving the interaction such that the view scrolls automatically, as needed, if this is supported in Tableau
  • Improve the sales value labeling for the northeastern states such that values do not overlap while still being a readable font size
  • Improve the zoom behavior for the heat-map, which is currently wonky

Mostly for my own reference, the steps I used to create this first iteration:

Import PDF
Change columns from text (ABC) to numbers (#), rename columns, and move data fields from Dimension to Measures. Rename worksheet.
Filters (upper-right of Data Source worksheet tab) > Add > Add > Exclude rows for The United States and District of Columbia
Drag-and-drop State and Output to Columns and Rows. Use Show Me to convert to a map
Rename Title
Drag-and-drop Output to Marks > Label
Pull-down menu on Label > Output > then:
– Format > Pane tab > Default > Font > Bold
– Format > Pane tab > Default > Numbers > adjust to Currency(Custom) and zero decimal places
To address Massachusetts label not appearing: Label > ‘Allow labels to overlap other marks’
Color > adjust to palette that shows range better than the default
Tooltip > remove Sales (as not needed since can see the label on the State)
Create new Worksheets for Employment and Firms
Drag-and-drop Employment [or Firms] and State to Columns and Rows
In Rows > State pull-down > Sort > Sort By Field > Descending
Click Label card > Show Mark Labels
Double-click on x-axis > Tick Marks > None [chosen since have the value labels for each bar]
Format (top nav) > Columns > Sheet > Default > Header > bold blue
Create Dashboard
Menu in upper-right > pull-down > Use as Filter
Dashboard (top nav) > Actions > Add Action > Highlight > set ‘Run On’ to Hover

Published in Business Analysis Portfolio


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