September 2004, Vol. 127, No. 9
Post-recession trends in nonfarm employment and related economic indicators
Supervisory economist, Division of Current Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Economist, Division of Current Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Economist, Division of Labor Force Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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The economy entered a recovery in November 2001 following an 8-month recession, but the labor-market recovery began much later. Gross domestic product (GDP) and corporate profits had surged before payroll employment reached its August 2003 trough. Employment edged up by about 60,000 a month during the remainder of the year. Gains averaged about 225,000 a month during the first 5 months of 2004 before slowing in the summer. The post-recession disconnect between overall economic growth and the labor market was unusual. The following analysis reviews this apparent inconsistency, and also identifies a number of other broad labor-market indicators that paralleled the lagged recovery in payroll employment. Employment data used in this essay are from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of about 160,000 businesses and government agencies, which represent approximately 400,000 individual worksites. For more information on the CES, see BLS Handbook of Methods, chapter 2, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ces
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