In times of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever for policymakers and thought leaders to have access to reliable, real-time economic data. That’s why Focus NJ recently launched a new, interactive economic tracking dashboard to provide easy access to this key information.
In the past, our team has produced annual reports analyzing the Garden State’s economy and economic indicators like unemployment, GDP and others. However, with record-high inflation, concerns of a looming slowdown, and industries still recovering from the pandemic, our team has committed to providing even more information on a more frequent basis.
The online dashboard, which is available at focusnj.org/economic-tracker, compares current and historical data through interactive maps, charts and tables for all 50 states and Washington, D.C. For select statistics, county-level data is available as well, though only for New Jersey at this time.
While this information has always been publicly available from the agencies that produce it – such as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Bureau of Economic Analysis and others – identifying current and past data points can be frustrating for stakeholders who don’t regularly track these statistics. Our goal was to eliminate that barrier and make tracking and comparing these figures fast and simple.
Information displayed in the tracking dashboard currently includes state unemployment rates, quarterly and annual GDP figures, GDP by industry, labor force size and participation rates, and employment by industry. County-level data is available for unemployment rate and labor force in New Jersey only. Figures are updated as they are released from official sources.
At launch, users can access data as far back as Jan. 2018. Interactive features allow for graphs and charts to be quickly filtered by date, state and industry, allowing for comparisons across time periods and regions at the user’s discretion. All data, which is included in the dashboard’s interactive charts and graphics, is also available to view in static data tables. This makes make multi-state comparisons easier to interpret.
The dashboard will not replace Focus NJ’s other economic analysis and research products, especially as data, which is updated less frequently, is released by agencies such as the US Census Bureau. However, this project represents one more way that our team seeks to innovate our research to support sound public policymaking in New Jersey.
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