Anyone dealing with the federal government knows it takes time to get responses to simple questions while tabulation of accurate official figures often takes months, sometimes years, so Grumpy Editor finds it interesting that the March “employment situation summary” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was wrapped up immediately after last Thursday, the last day of the month, ready for dissemination within 8½ hours.
Statistics galore were in the lengthy news release embargoed until 8:30 a.m. (EDT) on April 1.
That’s speedy work on highly-followed data.
The key news was that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 216,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.8 percent.
The news release covered March unemployment rates for seven categories of workers and cited the number of those jobless for (the rather odd period) of 27 weeks or more.
The March tally also indicated the number of persons “employed part time for economic reasons” and the number of discouraged workers --- “persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.”
Figures also were associated with March employment in the service-providing sector, the leisure and hospitality category, manufacturing (along with sub-categories), mining and local government, among others.
The news release also pinpointed $22.87 as the “average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls” in March.
(Keep in mind there were about 26 million firms in the latest U.S. Census Bureau count.)
All these figures, and others for March, were assembled before the clock struck midnight, ushering in April.
Eyebrow-raising editors, usually suspicious of figures --- from attendance at baseball games to precipitation amounts from the Weather Service --- were mum on the instant tabulations that made front pages in many newspapers around the country and led-off radio and television news on April 1.
The words "estimated" or "sampling" did not appear in the news release, indicating the figures were firm.
This month’s employment figures, however, will be issued a few days after April 30.
The summary is scheduled for May 6 --- at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).