In September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 500,000 more people found employment, bringing the gain of the past three months to 2.1 million, 300,000 more than the cumulative gains of the first six months of 2021. Yet, the press and private sector analysts characterize the recent jobs data as "dismal."
Household employment counts the number of people working, whereas payroll counts the number of jobs. Household employment tends to be more volatile than payroll employment. But household employment is never revised, while payroll employment is. Q3 payroll employment gain of 1.65 million is roughly 350,000 above initial estimates, and final numbers are still months away.
Household employment is essential to calculating the nation's jobless rate. In the past three months, substantial gains in household employment were behind the sharp in the number of unemployed, resulting in a 1.1 percentage point drop in the civilian unemployment rate.
Monthly declines in the jobless rate of 0.4 percentage points or more are rare. It's even rarer to occur when the jobless rate is below 6%. It happened three times in the past 50 years, and two of those were in Q3 2021.
Labor market data are anything but dismal.