Why Did the Unemployment Rate Drop?
The U.S. added 120,000 jobs in November, but the unemployment rate posted a huge drop to 8.6% from 9% and a broader unemployment rate fell even more to 15.6% from 16.2%. Why?
The number of jobs added comes from a survey of establishment payrolls. The unemployment rate comes from a separate survey of U.S. households. The household survey is much smaller than the establishment survey, and as a result it can swing around a lot — and move the unemployment rate up and down when it does. That volatility is a big reason why economists usually, but not always, pay much more attention to the establishment report.Read »