The jobs report: Happy days are not here again

The number that has our friends suspicious is the giant 873,000 leap in employment as measured by the “household survey.” That’s the biggest one-month increase in nearly 30 years, which certainly does deserve an explanation.

The household survey contacts about 60,000 individual households to find out how many Americans are working. It is different from the much larger “establishment survey,” which measures about 141,000 businesses and government agencies to see how many jobs they created. The household survey determines the jobless rate, so the huge one-month leap accounts for the September decline to 7.8%.

Because of its small size, the household survey tends to be highly volatile. In August it found that the number of net new jobs had fallen by 119,000 and in July by 195,000. The point is that you can’t read too much into one month’s number. As much as we agree that you can’t trust the government, this is probably the explanation for the huge one-month jump in September.