What Is the Employment Situation Report?

The Employment Situation report is a monthly report compiling a set of surveys in an attempt to monitor the labor market. Also known informally as the labor report, the Employment Situation Report is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor.

It summarizes total non-farm payroll employment in the United States by surveying over U.S. businesses and households. In short, it provides insight into who is working (and not working), what industries are seeing job gains and losses, and includes data broken down by age, gender, race and other groupings.

Key Takeaways

  • The Employment Situation Report is a monthly report put out by the U.S. department of labor, commenting on employment data.
  • It is also known as the labor report and provides a deeper dive into the employment data beyond the headline unemployment rate.
  • Economists and analysts may use the Employment Situation Report as a leading indicator for consumer spending and other metrics which can affect markets.

Understanding the Employment Situation Report

The data in the Employment Situation report provides investors with knowledge beyond the headline unemployment rate, and lets them know what the workers in the nation are making and how long they are working.

Financial markets may react to the Employment Situation report, as it can be an indicator of the overall health of an economy. It may also act as a bellwether for consumer spending trends and other key economic indicators. As such, the reaction in the release of such labor market information can be dramatic, which makes such information very valuable to investors.

The Employment situation report is actually a compilation of two surveys. The first survey—of 400,000 businesses—covers over 500 industries in several hundred metropolitan areas to form a snapshot of how the labor market is performing nationally, regionally, and by city. The survey reaches about a third of all American non-farm workers. It excludes the self-employed, private households and agricultural workers.

The second survey covers about 60,000 households to glean information about joblessness. This data is collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which produced the March 2018 Employment Situation Summary Report.

Employment Situation Report: Key Data

The Employment Situation report offers a wide variety of data. It includes:

  • The unemployment rate: The number of unemployed workers and the change of the number of unemployed people in the United States expressed as a percentage of the labor force.
  • Non-farm payroll employment: The number of employees working in U.S. business or government. This includes either full-time or part-time employees.
  • Average workweek: The average number of hours per week worked in the non-farm sector.
  • Average hourly earnings: The average basic hourly rate for major industries.
  • Job creation: The number of new jobs created in the U.S., as well the industries those jobs are in.