Job Report Cometh

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Ahead of the eagerly-anticipated August job report—which the Labor Department will drop tomorrow morning—two big indicators released this week shed light on the state of the U.S. workforce.

First, the Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Moody’s Analytics’ National Employment Report saw private payroll increase by 190,000 jobs in August—slightly below market expectations. The report draws from half a million private clients for which ADP processes payroll.

The second is the Labor Department’s weekly report on unemployment insurance claims—for the week ending August 29, claims rose 12,000 to 282,000. Jobless claims have been under 300,000 for 26 consecutive weeks, signaling an improving labor market as companies aren’t laying off workers.

Of course, all eyes are on the Labor Department’s job report release tomorrow because of jitters about how those numbers will play into the Fed’s decision about whether or not to raise interest rates at their mid-September meeting. (The coverage of the job report is also reaching peak hype: it’s been called a “clincher”, a “blockbuster”, even “the most important job report ever.”) Stay tuned for our coverage over in the Atlantic’s Business section.