The seasonal adjustment to jobless claims has been ... adjusted

Sep 3, 2020
The adjustments smooth out predictable changes in employment, but the pandemic economy has broken them.
This week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics changed its methodology in adjusting for seasonal jobs, like that of a lifeguard. It makes the data more accurate, but also more confusing.
Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Miscalculation of unemployment data not easy to fix

Jul 1, 2020
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said it might have been undercounting the number of workers classified as "unemployed on temporary layoff."
Hundreds of unemployed Kentucky residents wait in long lines for help with unemployment claims in June.
John Sommers II/Getty Images

How’s the economy? vs. how’s the economy for each of us?

Jun 8, 2020
If you want to answer the second question, you’ve got to 'disaggregate' the data.
Macroeconomic data can help you see the big picture — the forest. But if you want to understand how groups within the economy are doing, examine the trees.
Patrick Pleul/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Why was the May unemployment number wrong?

Jun 8, 2020
Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with former BLS Commissioner Erica Groshen about the "misclassification" error.
Unemployment application forms outside a Florida library.
Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

Meet Rocio, 24, construction worker

Feb 18, 2020
The Bureau of Labor Statistics would categorize Rocio’s job most broadly as “natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations.” One in 10 workers work jobs in that category.
Ben Hethcoat

Meet Kate, 24, new account representative at a bank

Feb 18, 2020
Kate's work is part of the "Sales and Office Occupations," category, like 20% of the U.S. labor force. She has an associate's degree.
Matt Staver

Meet Gaile, 70, convenience store cashier

Feb 18, 2020
Gaile is part of the sales industry and works part time. She's part of the largest growing segment of workers — those over 55.
Melissa Lyttle

You’ve got questions. We help you answer them.

Support nonprofit, independent journalism that makes you smarter.

Meet Derrick, 40, college dean

Feb 18, 2020
Derrick's work is characterized as "management, professional, like 40% of the U.S. workforce.
Caroline Yang

Meet Stephanie, 49, executive director of a movie theater

Feb 18, 2020
The Bureau of Labor Statistics would categorize her under “management, professional, and related occupations," along with four in 10 U.S. workers. This category also includes teachers, dentists, CEOs and a wide range of other professions.
Amiee Stubbs

Meet Neil, 34, bartender

Feb 18, 2020
The Bureau of Labor Statistics would categorize Neil's job as a “service occupation,” along with a wide range of other workers. Two in 10 people work jobs in that category.
Thomas Patterson