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Inside the BLS Employment Situation Report
This is my monthly look inside the BLS Employment Situation Report. There are two BLS Surveys: the Establishment and the Household. Establishment surveys about 141,000 businesses and government agencies, representing approximately 486,000 individual worksites. It is taken each month during the week which includes the 12th of the month. Household is a survey of 60,000 households taken each month during the week which includes the 12th of the month.
Each item below is suffixed with (H) if it is from the Household Survey, (E) if it is from the Establishment Survey, and (B) if it is from both.
- Nominal Nonfarm jobs was +170,000. (E). The two previous months' gains were revised to +129,000 and +84,000. Those had been +113,000 and +75,000. That is a gain of 27,000 for those 2 months from the previous report making the net gain of +197,000 in jobs since the last report.
- the size of the civilian noninstitutional adult population increased by 170,000 to 247,085,000 (H).
- 264,000 more people were in the labor force last month. (H)
With a labor participation rate of 63.0% 107,100 more jobs were necessary to keep pace with population growth. We had 96,900 more jobs added than that. (H) The Employment/Population was steady at 58.8%.
The Labor Participation Rate was flat at 63.%. It was 63.5% a year ago. This number has been a continuing disappointment.
The civilian noninstitutional population is 2,257.000 (H) more than 12 months ago. With a labor participation rate of 63.0% we require 1,422,000 more jobs in the past 12 months to keep pace with population growth. We have 1,802,000 (H) more folks working.
- Real (population adjusted) job growth last month was 96,900. This accounts for the changes for the 2 previous months.
- the Unemployment Rate was 6.8% down from 6.6% the previous month (B)
- Average hourly earnings was $24.31 up from $24.22 the previous month(E)
- Average work week was 34.3 hours down from 34.4 hours the previous month(E)
- Private jobs were +162,000. Government jobs were +13,000 (E)
-Good producing jobs were +22,000. The two previous months were revised to -13,000 and +62,000 (E)
-The labor participation rate (percent of adult noninstitutionalized population who are part of the labor force) rose to 63.0%. It was 63.5% a year ago. (H) This, not the unemployment rate, is the number which should get everyone's attention. It is this 63.0% of the adult noninstitutionalized population who get pay checks and contribute to GDP.
Last month BLS measured 4 sets of people entering or leaving the jobs market:
- Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs was 5,548,000 up 41,000 from previous month's Job Losers and down 1,047,000 year-on-year. (H)
- Job leavers was 823,000. This includes anyone who retired or voluntarily left working. This up 5 ,000 from previous month and down 123,000 year-on-year. (H)
-Reentrants was 2,997,000. Reentrants are previously employed people who were looking for a job and found one. This was +60,000 from the previous month and -333,000 year-on-year.(H)
-New entrants were 1,229,000. These are people who never worked before and who are entering the labor force for the first time. This was -+45,000 from previous month and -47,000 year-on-year.
One line in the BLS Report is termed "people employed part-time for economic reasons." These are people who want to work full time but their employer, for whatever reason, decide to employ them only part-time. In this month's report there were 71,000 fewer people working part-time. This is a a noted improvement.
The presentation of the total change in jobs is like looking at the final score of a game. The details tell the story:
- 197,000 more people are working.
- 264,000 more people are in the civilian labor force.
The unemployment rate increased 0.1%.
This report indicates modest growth in the jobs market for February. What the economy needs is an increase in the Labor Participation Rate which, apart from the month-to-month bumps has been in slow decline.
It is, for the most part, the people who are working which keep the economy going and pay taxes to keep the government going. Having a continually smaller percent of the population working is not good news.
Figuring out how to get more folks working is something which becomes a discussion dominated by politicians and that tends to be something other than a solution.
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