Making sense of ‘ugly, messy’ data


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Finding it near-impossible to make sense of the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics reports? There is now a simple dashboard that packages that information into an easily digestible format — without requiring users to have a background in statistics.

Launched this week, revamps U.S. jobs data by unleashing the power and value of BLS’ monthly releases. The free dashboard presents BLS data in a clear, comprehensive manner, displaying it in easy-to-understand graphs and without the need to push information through traditional analysis tools.

The website was created by Seabourne Inc., a technology innovation company based in Washington, D.C. It took the Seabourne team 24 hours to build using DelRay, the information management platform on which runs.

More than 60,000 sets of data represent more than 12 million data points in the BLS reports, so the idea was to make all this “ugly, messy data” easier to understand and more accessible to everyone, Dan McSwain, a marketing and communications consultant who works with Seabourne, said in an interview with FedScoop.

“Big-data onboarding has long been a problem area, and the team wanted to show that it isn’t all that difficult to do,” said McSwain, a former Federal Communications Commission staffer.

The Seabourne team is no stranger to the digital government space. In 2010, the development team rebuilt in Drupal, making it the first time an agency’s content became available via an application programming interface platform. The team also streamlined the Commerce Department’s online information by creating an information management platform using web-based APIs.

So far, the responses to have been “really, really positive,” McSwain said. It should be possible to handle – and present – big data without making huge investments in time and resources – both of which are scarce in today’s stringent budget times, he added. provides not only valuable data to consumers, McSwain said, but it can help policy makers and analysts alike better understand trends in the U.S. job market.

“You shouldn’t have to have a technology or statistics background to make sense of this and go beyond the headlines of jobs data,” McSwain said.


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Agencies, Departments, Federal Communications Commission, Seabourne
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