Commodities flow in U.S. industry

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

The United States Bureau of Economic Analysis provides a lot of quantitative information on the country’s economic activities. The Bureau’s Industry Economic Program prepares one interesting type of data: commodity input-output tables. These tables show how industries interact to provide input to and take output from one another.

This time we will use the Use Table for the year 2015, which covers 15 main industry groups in the economy. The columns and rows of the table correspond to industries, and values in each cell shows the amount of a commodity purchased by each industry as an intermediate input into the industry’s production process. All values in the table are given in purchaser’s prices, meaning that they already include taxes, transportation and other additional costs. Also, the table does not differentiate between domestic production and imports.

To visualize this asymmetric tabular data we used a chord diagram. Circle segments correspond to industries and arrows show the flow of commodities. Since full table contains values of different orders of magnitude, a slider is included to hide the smaller flows. Some industries have a disproportionately large use of products from the same industry. To make the diagram more accessible, we moved commodity flows within each industry to a separate chart.

A logarithmic scale on the vertical axis allows us to show all of the values. Use of same-industry products is the highest in manufacturing: nearly 53 percent. Finance and professional services have 47 and 45 percent respectively. Notably, information services take 34 percent of their input from other Information services.

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About Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science


Alexander is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. He currently holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Applied Math. He has experience working for industry major companies performing research in the fields of machine learning, data mining and natural language processing. In his free time, Alexander enjoys hiking, Nordic skiing and traveling.


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