The Surge in Employment Reported for September Looks Reasonable in Context

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Friday, 02 November 2012 05:13

The Washington Post told readers that:

"the sharp improvement visible in the survey of households in the September jobs numbers may turn out to be a overly positive statistical aberration. An additional 872,000 people reported having a job in September’s household survey, which does not square with the amount of hiring that employers reported."

While this is true for the September numbers, the data look less anomalous if we take into account that the household survey reported a fall in employment of 314,000 jobs in the prior two months. The total employment growth of 559,000 reported over the last three months is not very different from the 437,000 job growth reported over this period in the establishment survey. (It is still likely the unemployment rate will rise this month -- this rate of job growth is not consistent with a sharp drop in the unemployment rate.)