A set of labor market indicators measuring both the nation's unemployment levels and non-farm payrolls. The unemployment rate tallies the number of unemployed individuals as a percentage of the total labor force. Two separate surveys are taken to obtain the numbers for the Employment Situation Report. Approximately 60,000 households are surveyed for the unemployment rate, while 375,000 businesses are surveyed for the establishment survey. The establishment survey produces the data for the non-farm payrolls, average workweek and average hourly earnings figures.
The total payroll report is categorized by sector. This can be valuable in identifying economic trends within each sector. Analysts' tend to watch the data pertaining to the manufacturing sector closely, as it can be a leading indicator of changes in the overall business cycle.
The average workweek report can be useful in determining industrial production and personal income. It can also help identify trends in labor market conditions. Average earnings are closely watched for indications of potential inflation as well. In a tightening labor market, the cost of labor will increase. Thus there is too much money chasing too few employees. As a result, companies will then pass on these increases to their products and services, thus perpetuating retail price inflation.
With greater concern of potential inflation comes a more significant impact of this report. The report is issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, on the first Friday of each month at 8:30 am ET.