February 27, 2021

Economix: By One Survey, Fewer Jobs Than 2 Years Ago

The job numbers every month come from two different surveys, which sometimes point in different directions. The establishment survey questions employers, and produces one headline number. This month it concluded that, seasonally adjusted, the economy added 117,000 jobs in July. The household survey asks people if they are working, and is used to calculate the unemployment rate.



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The two surveys do not cover the same thing: Self-employed people are not counted in the establishment survey. But someone with two jobs may be counted twice. Add in issues of sampling error, and they can diverge for long periods of time.

But it is interesting to observe that the total number of people with jobs in the household survey in July was 139,296,000. That figure is half a percent less than the figure in June 2009, when the recession officially ended. The unemployment rate is lower only because there are fewer people in the work force.

The establishment survey looks a little better. It shows employment up half a percent since the end of the recession.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Haver Analytics

Both surveys indicate employment hit bottom in the winter of 2009-10, and is now higher. But while the establishment survey indicates the rise has been slow but steady since then, the household survey showed a sharp rise in early 2010 but has done little since then.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=b867c7b36894bea7bfb073c48f0ce34e

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