The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its report on the October employment situation. Observers who have been apprehensive about the impact of the partial government shutdown will find the headline numbers surprisingly good. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 204,000 jobs. The unemployment rate was up, but only by a whisker, rising from 7.24 to 7.28. However, for a number of reasons, these numbers do not fully reflect the impact of the shutdown on the economy.
begin with the payroll numbers, where the explanation is fairly simple.
Payroll jobs are based on a survey of employers. They report how many
employees worked or received pay for the pay period that included a
certain reference date, in this case October 12th. Even
though the reference date fell during the shutdown, all federal workers,
whether on furlough or not, met this requirement, thanks to the
generosity of Congress, who decided to award them back pay for days not
worked. For that reason, the shutdown had no effect on the number of
federal payroll employees. There could well have been effects in the
private sector, for example, if a hotel near a national park sent
workers home for the season who otherwise would have stayed through the
end of October, but those effects were evidently small.
more, payroll job numbers for August and September were revised upward
by a total of 60,000 jobs. When we take both the new data and the
revisions into account (as shown in the following chart), recent payroll
numbers do not look at all bad. The 605,000 job gain over the three
months from August through October is a healthy improvement from the
452,000 for May through June. (Of course, the September and October
numbers are still subject to final revision, so this result could
change.) >>>Read more
Follow this link to view or download a classroom-ready slideshow with complete charts of the latest employment situation