The economy added between 80,000 and 277,000 jobs in October, as the recovery remained weak
October was another frustrating month for job seekers. The labor market isn't providing nearly enough jobs for the vast population of Americans looking for work, as the unemployment rate ticked down only slightly to 9.0%. How many jobs were added this month isn't entirely clear, but it was likely a number between 80,000 and 277,000. There were some bright spots, but a rate of hiring this slow isn't going to result in a healthy U.S. economy anytime soon.
How Many Jobs Were Added?
Unfortunately, the two surveys that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to determine the number of new jobs diverged again in October. The Establishment Survey, which asks businesses how many jobs they added, shows 80,000. But the Household Survey, which asks households whether or not their inhabitants are employed, shows 277,000 new jobs. That's a pretty big difference, so which should we trust?
It's hard to say for sure, but lately the Establishment Survey has been providing some pretty awful initial estimates. For example, the August projection began at zero. It was revised to 57,000 in September. This month it was revised up again to 104,000. Similarly, September's number of jobs added was revised this month to 158,000 from 103,000. One reason why the Establishment Survey might be underestimating the number of new jobs could be that it fails to account for new businesses. So we may see October's number of first estimate of 80,000 revised up in coming months.