Where are the Jobs?

Over the past several years, the LEHD program at the US Census Bureau has put together an incredible resource: the LEHD Origin Destination Employment Statistics (LODES) dataset, which provides information on the location and characteristics of every job in the United States that is covered by unemployment insurance.

Heavily inspired by the Racial Dot Map, this visualization uses the LODES data to plot one dot for every job in the United States (based on the counts of jobs by Census block).

When it launched in 2015, this visualization was covered by the Washington Post, Citylab, and Vox, among other outlets. You can read my introduction to the dataset for REGION here, or my paper that uses LODES data to identify and characterize business districts here. If you want to take a deep dive into the jobs and commuting flows in one particular area, I recommend the Census Bureau’s own OnTheMap tool. And if you’d like to make your own version, the code to make the visualization is on Github here.

Launch visualization


This project attempts to use hotel review data to understand where tourists come from. It stems from my interest in regional tourist destinations—places like the North Shore of Lake Superior, Door County, or Rehoboth Beach that have large, devoted masses of visitors from one or two cities, but are relatively unknown outside of their source regions.

Every reviewer on Tripavisor has a ‘location’ field that represents their hometown or current city. By geocoding that field and then plotting the distribution of origins for each destination, it is possible to get a sense of where a destination’s visitors originate–its “vacationshed.”

This data was originally gathered by Hangning Wang et al. for a project on textual analysis of hotel reviews. The site is thus limited by the amount of data they were able to collect, and it’s a few years out of date. If you work at Tripadvisor (or any other travel site!) and would like to explore these topics further with me, let me know!

Launch visualization