Understanding Business Hours in Pandas Time Series

Updated: February 19, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


In the realm of data analysis, particularly when dealing with time series data, understanding business hours and their manipulation is essential. Pandas, a powerful data manipulation library in Python, provides robust tools for handling such cases. This tutorial aims to explore the concept of business hours within Pandas, accompanied by illustrative examples from basic to advanced levels.

Preparing Data

Pandas Time Series functionality hinges on its DateTimeIndex, which facilitates handling and manipulating dates and times effortlessly. Before diving into business hours, let’s quickly set the stage with some basic date and time series concepts in Pandas.

import pandas as pd

# Create a simple DateTime series
dates = pd.date_range('2023-01-01', periods=6, freq='D')
df = pd.DataFrame(dates, columns=['Date'])
df['Data'] = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

This basic example introduces creating a date range and associating some data with each date. The output would look something like this:

        Date  Data
0 2023-01-01     1
1 2023-01-02     2
2 2023-01-03     3
3 2023-01-04     4
4 2023-01-05     5
5 2023-01-06     6

Understanding Business Hours

Pandas defines business hours as the hours between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays (Monday through Friday), excluding weekends and public holidays. This definition is crucial when performing operations that need to consider business hours explicitly, such as calculating business day durations or filtering data to only include business hours.

Custom Business Hours

In some cases, you might need to adjust the default business hours to match your specific case. Pandas allows for this customization through ‘CustomBusinessHour’. Here’s how to define a custom business hour range:

from pandas.tseries.offsets import CustomBusinessHour

cbh = CustomBusinessHour(start='08:00', end='18:00')

The output will show the custom business hour setting that extends from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Applying Business Hours to Data

Let’s add some depth to our understanding by applying these concepts to a real-world dataset. Suppose you have a time series dataset that includes timestamps, and you want to filter out entries outside business hours.

import pandas as pd
from pandas.tseries.offsets import CustomBusinessHour

# Generate a sample dataset with timestamps
timestamps = pd.date_range('2023-01-01 08:00', periods=8, freq='H')
data = pd.DataFrame(timestamps, columns=['Timestamp'])
data['Value'] = range(8)

cbh = CustomBusinessHour(start='09:00', end='17:00')
data['IsBusinessHour'] = data['Timestamp'].apply(lambda x: x in cbh)

This code snippet applies a custom business hour range to our dataset, adding a new column to indicate whether each timestamp falls within business hours. The output illustrates how `IsBusinessHour` flags data points accordingly.

Handling Holidays

Incorporating holidays into the business hours calculation adds another layer of realism to your time series analysis. Pandas allows for the inclusion of holidays through the ‘CustomBusinessDay’ (CDB) offset, which considers both custom business hours and holidays. Here’s how to implement this:

from pandas.tseries.holiday import USFederalHolidayCalendar
from pandas.tseries.offsets import CustomBusinessDay

holiday_calendar = USFederalHolidayCalendar()
cbd = CustomBusinessDay(calendar=holiday_calendar)

This demonstrates incorporating US federal holidays into your business day calculations. When you apply `cbd` as an offset to your date ranges, it will automatically skip holidays.

Advanced Time Series Analysis

Moving to more sophisticated analyses, let’s explore how to use business hours in forecasting and trend analysis, two common tasks in time series analysis. Focusing on business hours can yield more accurate and relevant insights for many applications.

Business Hour Data Aggregation

Aggregating data within business hours can provide insights into peak business activities, customer behaviors, and sales trends. You might use resampling and custom business hours for this:

import pandas as pd
from pandas.tseries.offsets import CustomBusinessHour

# Assuming `data` contains your time series data
cbh = CustomBusinessHour(start='09:00', end='17:00')
data['BusinessHour'] = data.index.map(lambda x: x in cbh)
aggregated = data[data['BusinessHour']].resample('D').sum()

This aggregation method emphasizes the importance of focusing analyses within business hours to obtain more accurate insights.


Understanding and manipulating business hours in Pandas time series data is an invaluable skill for data analysts and scientists. As demonstrated, Pandas provides flexible and powerful tools to accommodate various needs, from basic date ranges to advanced trend analyses that depend on precise business hour targeting. Effectively leveraging these capabilities can significantly enhance your data analysis and insights.