Thursday, February 25, 2010

Unemployment's Snow Problem

The bad weather last month on the east coast may throw off the unemployment numbers for Feburary, Floyd Norris explains:
Both the household survey (which produces the unemployment rate) and the employer survey (which produces the job count) ask about workers in the week during which the 12th of the month fell.

For February, that was the week of the 7th to the 13th. There were blizzards on the East Coast the previous weekend, and again during the week.

That means that a lot of people who had jobs may report they did not work during the week, and companies may say they had fewer people on the payroll than they would have cited a week earlier or later. If so, we may get a truly horrid job number.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics employment situation summary for February is due out March 5.

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