07 November 2014

683,000 Jobs Created in October

Each month the jobs reports includes two numbers. The one widely reported is based on interviews of firms. This month that was 214,000. The one buried further in the report is based on interviews of households. This month the household survey reported 683,000 new jobs.

The household survey is more volatile and is thus discounted. Rightfully so. But it isn't just capturing volatility. It reports 3.8 million new jobs in the last twelve months - significantly more than the 2.6 million reported by firms. It's not just more volatile. It's higher. 

It's tough to capture reality in a dynamic, market-driven economy of 308 million people that destroys and creates about 20 jobs for every one job it keeps. So it is a good reminder that there is no precisely accurate number for job creation. 

But think about what it means for an increasingly entrepreneurial economy when households are reporting more new jobs than firms are. What if this isn't just an error but instead is a way of reporting job creation that has not yet come onto the radar? What if the firms helping to create these jobs aren't official enough - yet - to register for Labor Department surveys? That's an optimistic - and obviously unproven - interpretation of the difference between the two surveys. Still, it's worth considering.

Ben Casselman reports that 24% of the unemployed found jobs in October, the highest during the recovery.

The employment to population ratio - which fell from about 63% just before the Great Recession to 58% after has grown 1% in the last 12 months, above 59% for the first time since 2009.

Meanwhile, the really big news is that we've just hit a new record since the government began tracking monthly job creation numbers in 1939. Never before has the American economy had an uninterrupted streak of months with job creation for this long. The old record, set in the late 1980s, was 48 months. We're now at 49 months and could easily continue this streak for another 6 to 24 months. 

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