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Employment, a household survey measure, is more volatile than jobs, an establishment survey measure. The divergence is large even though the trends look alike.

Jobs vs. Employment Level

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The trends are in the same direction, but the volatility of the employment level is apparent.

Jobs vs. Employment - Percent Change from Year Ago

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On a percentage basis, jobs are up 1.7% from a year ago. The employment level is up only 1.1% from a year ago.

Jobs vs. Employment - Change from Year Ago in Thousands / 12

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During recessions, jobs and employment track very closely. Otherwise the volatility of employment is clearly visible.

Year over year employment is up an average of 136,000 per month. Jobs are up an average of 211,000 a month. That's quite a difference.

The numbers tend to converge, but which way?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock