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Employment Situation

The Employment Situation report is a monthly report that combines two separate surveys about the labor market. The Employment Situation report is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Establishment Survey collects data from a sampling of more than 400,000 businesses across the country, covering more than 500 industries and hundreds of metropolitan areas. The survey encompasses one-third of all non-farm workers nationwide. The final statistics include non-farm payrolls, hours worked and hourly earnings. The establishment survey is theoretically more accurate since its sample size is larger, but it excludes private households, the self-employed and agricultural sector.

The second survey is called the Household Survey. It produces a figure of the total number of individuals who are out of work as a percentage of the labor force from a sampling of more than 60,000 households. The data is collected by the U.S Census Bureau with assistance from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The household survey may be more subjective due to its smaller sample size. However, the survey includes self-employed workers and this figure may be more valuable if one wants to track how many people are starting their own business. This scenario usually occurs during the early expansion of the economy.

In order to be counted as unemployed, one must be actively looking for work. Other commonly known figures from the Household Survey include the labor supply and discouraged workers.

The stock market tends to react to this monthly report. Usually this month report is released on the first Friday day of the month. However, the official rule is that estimates for a given reference month are typically released on the third Friday after the conclusion of the reference week; i.e., the week which includes the 12th of the month. This occasionally results in a release date on the second Friday of the month.

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