Well, it looks like Susan Rasky and I will be teaching a course on covering the economy to some of Berkeley's Journalism School students this semester. So it is time for me to start assembling materials...
At 8:30 AM Eastern time on the first Friday of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues its monthly employment report, and the Commissioner of Labor Statistics issues a statement. Here is the Commissioner's Statement from the January 6, 2006 Employment Report:
Advance copies of this statement are made available to the
press under lock-up conditions with the explicit
understanding that the data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m.
Eastern Standard Time.
Statement of Kathleen P. Utgoff: Commissioner Bureau of Labor Statistics: Friday, January 6, 2006:
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 108,000 in
December, and the unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, was
little changed. In November, payroll employment rose by
305,000, and October employment was about unchanged
(+25,000), as revised. Over the year, payroll employment
increased by 2.0 million. Over the month, employment
increased in manufacturing, food services, professional and
business services, and health care. Construction employment
was little changed in December.
Manufacturing added 18,000 jobs over the month. There were noteworthy gains in wood products and in computer and
electronic products. The factory workweek declined by 0.1
hour to 40.7 hours, and overtime was unchanged at 4.5 hours.
Construction employment was little changed over the month, following a gain of 42,000 in November. In 2005,
construction employment rose by 246,000. In December,
employment in residential building construction continued
to increase. Employment in heavy construction declined in
December, following a large gain in November.
Within the service-providing sector, health care added 21,000 jobs in December and 271,000 jobs in 2005. Over the
month, employment continued to trend up in hospitals and in
Employment was up by 33,000 in professional andbusiness services in December, following a much larger
increase in November (+76,000, as revised). Over the year,
this industry added 486,000 jobs. In December, employment
continued to trend up in architectural and engineering
services, management and consulting services, and accounting
services. Employment in temporary help services was little
changed over the month; over the year, the industry added
In December, employment increased by 36,000 in food services and drinking places; over the year, the industry
added 220,000 jobs. Employment growth continued in
financial activities over the month; in 2005, the industry
added 188,000 jobs. Strength in the housing market
contributed to job growth in credit intermediation (up by
84,000 over the year), and in real estate (up by 56,000 over
Retail trade employment was little changed in December.
After seasonal adjustment, employment declined in general
merchandise stores, as seasonal hiring was less than usual.
Building material and garden supply stores employment
increased over the month.
Average hourly earnings of production or nonsupervisory
workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents in
December to $16.34, following a 1-cent gain in November (as
revised). Over the year, average hourly earnings were up by
Turning now to our survey of households, I would remind
data users that, with the release of December's data, we
revise seasonally adjusted estimates. Data going back 5
years--to January 2001--are subject to revision. All of the
seasonally adjusted household data released today reflect
The unemployment rate was little changed in December at
4.9 percent; a year earlier the jobless rate was 5.4
percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 7.4 million
in December, was down from 8.0 million a year earlier. The
employment-population ratio was unchanged over the month at
62.8 percent. After trending up earlier in the year, the
ratio has been 62.8 percent for 5 of the past 6 months. The
labor force participation rate, at 66.0 percent in December,
was unchanged from a year earlier.
With today's release, we have the third month of data
derived from a special series of questions that were
included in the household survey to identify and solicit
information from survey respondents who had evacuated from
their homes due to Hurricane Katrina. It is important to
note that the estimates do not account for all evacuees.
We do not gather information on those evacuees who remain
outside the scope of the survey, such as those currently
living in hotels or shelters.
The December data indicate that there were about 1.1
million persons age 16 and over who evacuated from their
August residence due to Hurricane Katrina. By December,
about 600,000 persons, or a little more than half, had
returned to the home from which they had evacuated; the
remainder had not returned.
Of the estimated 1.1 million evacuees identified in
December, 58.2 percent were in the labor force, and their
unemployment rate was 12.4 percent. Those evacuees who
returned home had a lower unemployment rate in December (5.6
percent) than those evacuees who had not returned to the
residence they occupied in August (20.7 percent). The
proportion of evacuees participating in the labor force in
December was similar for both groups--58.4 percent for those
who had returned to their homes, and 58.0 percent for those
who had not returned.
To summarize December's labor market data, payroll
employment increased by 108,000, and the unemployment rate
was little changed at 4.9 percent. Over the year, payroll
employment rose by 2 million, and the Nation's jobless rate
was down by half a percentage point.