It’s not just about the topline numbers
The U.S. Labor Department’s monthly jobs report is closely monitored by investors, business executives and policymakers for signals about the direction of the world’s largest economy. While the headline numbers for job creation and unemployment draw the most attention, the report contains a raft of other data that provide important insights into the U.S. labor market.
Resources for Further Study
Baumohl, Bernard, “The Secrets of Economic Indicators: Hidden Clues to Future Economic Trends and Investment Opportunities,” FT Press, 2012. An economist walks through some of the most important economic indicators used by decision makers and how those indicators work.
Eberstadt, Nicholas, “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis,” Templeton Press, 2016. A conservative political economist investigates why, even as unemployment has fallen, the proportion of the population that is employed has also declined.
Karabell, Zachary, “The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World,” Simon & Schuster, 2014. A money manager and commentator examines the most significant indicators that economists and policymakers use to track financial health and argues that there are limits to how those figures can be used to manage the economy.
Carmichael, Kevin, “The Jobs Report Is Overhyped. Here’s Why That’s A Problem,” FiveThirtyEight, Dec. 8, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
Casselman, Ben, “Making Sense of the Jobs Report: It’s Not Always Easy,” The New York Times, Feb. 1, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Leonhardt, David, “For Wages, a Trump Slump,” The New York Times, Aug. 5, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Strain, Michael R., “The Economics and Emotions Behind Slow Wage Growth,” Bloomberg, July 9, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Reports and Studies
Baker, Dean, Sarah Rawlins and David Stein, “The Full Employment Mandate of the Federal Reserve: Its Origins and Importance,” Center for Economic and Policy Research, July 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
DeSilver, Drew, “What the unemployment rate does – and doesn’t – say about the economy,” Pew Research Center, March 7, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/
Escobari, Marcela, and Sandy Fernandez, “Measuring American gig workers is difficult, but essential,” Brookings Institution, July 19, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Bernton, Hal, “As Washington growers struggle with labor shortage, vote in Congress on farmworker bill remains elusive,” The Seattle Times, Aug. 6, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Kusisto, Laura, “Young People Don’t Want Construction Jobs. That’s a Problem for the Housing Market,” The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Talbott, Bruce, “Our fruit is rotting in the trees as laborers are kept out of the country,” The Washington Post, Aug. 24, 2018, http://tinyurl.com/
Galston, William A., “Wage Stagnation Is Everyone’s Problem,” The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 14, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Long, Heather, “In U.S., wage growth is being wiped out entirely by inflation,” The Washington Post, Aug. 10, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Noguchi, Yuki, “Solving The ‘Wage Puzzle’: Why Aren’t Paychecks Growing?” NPR, Aug. 2, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
1 Dupont Circle, N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
A global think tank that studies the gig economy, among a host of other economic and policy issues.
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
3300 Whitehaven St., N.W., Suite 3200, Washington, DC 20007
An independent policy institute that researches the labor market and the workforce.
George Mason University, 3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor, Arlington, VA 22201
A conservative, market-oriented think tank that studies regulation, financial policy and monetary policy.
1025 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036
A center-left think tank that examines the economy, the labor market and trade.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Postal Square Building, 2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20212-0001
A Labor Department agency that conducts employment surveys and produces the monthly jobs report.