April 20, 2024

Economix: In the Jobs Report, One Big Question

In each of the last two months, I’ve posed five big questions about the jobs report on the eve of its release. This month, there is only one big question: Has job growth slowed, as many economists now fear?

I won’t be doing as much blogging Friday as I usually do on the day of a jobs-report release. So I’ll offer my usual advice in advance: don’t pay too much attention to the unemployment rate, whatever it does. It’s based on a much smaller sample (from a survey of households) than the monthly estimate of changes in employment (which comes from a survey of businesses). The unemployment rate can also be affected by how many people have stopped looking for work and not counted as officially unemployed.

Instead, keep your eyes on three numbers: 1) the employment change in May; 2) the employment change in April (the most recent estimate, set to be revised, was a gain of 244,000 jobs); 3) the employment change in March (last estimated to be a gain of 221,000 jobs)?

Not long ago, policy makers and Wall Street forecasters were predicting that job growth would be accelerating through most of this year. So far, that has been the case. Will it still appear to be the case on Friday morning?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=e524b0067c310aca74035efb71a32923

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