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Posted at 8:23 AM ET, 04/ 3/2009

Explaining Employment and Unemployment Stats

By Ed O'Keefe

Nuts and Bolts

It happens on the first Friday of every month: Government economists release new employment and unemployment statistics that gets widely quoted on television, on the Internet and in newspapers. But what exactly is that data? And who analyzes it?

In a continuing effort to expose the "nuts and bolts" of federal agency operations, The Eye -- along with washingtonpost.com's uber-talented Emily Kotecki -- explains what the data represents and introduces you to some of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) economists that analyze the data.

Special thanks to BLS economists Emily Richards and Jim Borbely (seen in the video) and BLS spokesman Gary Steinberg for their explanations of the data.

Make sure to read The Post's Economy Watch for the new employment and unemployment statistics released today.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | April 3, 2009; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  Nuts and Bolts, Video Report  
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Comments

It takes more than the 2000 BLS economists to produce the unemployment index numbers; the US Census Bureau deserves a lot of credit for sampling the households, conducting the interviews, and collecting the data for the Current Population Survey (CPS). You didn't even mention us in this piece.

Posted by: Adele1 | April 3, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse


JOB LOSSES - UNEMPLOYMENT RATE - OUT OF WORK
Jan., 2008 - 76,000 4.9%
Feb., 2008 - 83,000 4.8%
Mar., 2008 - 88,000 5.1%
Apr., 2008 - 67.000 5.0%
May, 2008 - 47,000 5.5%
June, 2008 - 100,000 - 5.5%
July, 2008 - 67,000 - 5.7%
Aug., 2008 - 127,000 - 6.1%
Sept., 2008 - 403,000 - 6.1%
Oct., 2008 - 320,000 - 6.5%
Nov., 2008 - 533,000 - 6.8%
Dec., 2008 - 681,000 - 7.2% - 11.1 million (R)
Jan., 2009 - 741,000 - 7.6% - 11.6 million (R)
Feb., 2009 - 651,000 - 8.1% - 12.5 million
Mar., 2009 - 663,000 - 8.5% - 13.2 million

Posted by: buzzm1 | April 3, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Adele1. The 2000 figure includes all BLS employees working on the many different BLS programs; not just unemployment. We value all of our statistical partners, especially Census.

Posted by: statboy | April 3, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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