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Executive: Deciphering the jobs report requires looking beyond the numbers

A 'Help Wanted' sign is posted in the window of an automotive service shop on March 8, 2013 in El Cerrito, California
A 'Help Wanted' sign is posted in the window of an automotive service shop on March 8, 2013 in El Cerrito, California
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

According to an April 4 article in the USA Today; the Bureau of Labor Statics reported that the US economy grew by 192,000 jobs in the month of March. The unemployment rate remained flat.

The article goes on to say that the job growth numbers for January 2014 and February 2014 were understated by 37,000.

One executive stressed that the numbers alone don’t tell the story.

You cannot compare this month to last month. You have to compare March 2013 with March 2014. There are a number of things that we call one-timers that can significantly impact the data. These are things that only happen in a single month. For example, holidays are a one-timer. December job growth is impacted by companies hiring for the Christmas rush. If you don’t account for that, you may assume that January; when compared to December, was a flop.

In March 2014, the economy grew by 192,000 jobs. In March 2013, it grew by only 88,000. The job growth more than doubled year over year.

The second focus area is understanding what is growing. Ideally, a different job type would drive the growth each month. Of the 4 primary drivers of job growth in March, only one of them (mining and logging) is new to the list. Professional and business services and health care are all consistently on the list.

Why is this important? It is important because most of us are skilled in only one trade. If, for example, you are unemployed and over the age of 40 you may be forced to learn a new trade or be locked out. The more those job types that drive growth change, the greater the impact it would have on unemployment.

Finally, and this is more applicable to those looking to change careers and working locations, research unemployment. You don’t want to transfer to a state where unemployment is on the rise.

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Source: USA Today

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