The BLS Monthly Situation: What It Is and Why You Should Follow It

Ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information coming at you each day?

With the barrage of data pouring in from newspapers, TV, the internet, social media, RSS feeds, e-mails, voicemails and good-old-fashioned face-to-face meetings, finding the critical information you need amidst all the “white noise” can be exhausting.

Take the BLS Monthly Employment Situation, for example.  It contains monthly employment estimates for over 1,000 industries from its Current Employment Statistics program.  However, the changes in these overall employment levels tend to be delayed in the monthly labor reports – making it a lagging indicator of economic trends.

Sound like a lot of white noise?

Not entirely.  Temporary help employment numbers, which are part of the monthly BLS report, are generally considered to be a coincident indicator for overall employment.  This means that changes in temporary help employment tend to forecast subsequent changes in overall employment and coincide with changes in economic activity.  Why?  Many companies use temporary staffing as a means to quickly adjust their operations to meet fluctuating demands for their products and services.

Here’s how to get current data for temporary help services in the BLS report:

  1. Go to the BLS Current Employment Statistics home page.
  2. Then select either the HTML or PDF version of the “Employment Situation Summary.”
  3. Data for temporary help services can be found in Table B-1 (page 30 of the report’s PDF version).

 

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