Top Information For 2017 On Root Issues In
Is The Employment Situation Weaker Than We Thought? Probably Not Via Menzie Chinn of Econbrowser Wells Fargo describes The Quarterly County Employment and Wages report as "a detailed count of employment and wages derived from the unemployment insurance tax rolls and serve as the basis for the annual revisions to the monthly employment series." And the big news is, it declined - substantially - in the last quarterly report, released this week. Is the employment and wage situation a lot weaker than we thought? Probably not. Here's why. Since it isn't a small sample but is derived from the total data, I would expect it to show a smooth progression, even at turning points. But that's just not the case. To show you how volatile the YoY measure is, here is the last eight quarters of the YoY change in average weekly wages, with the nominal dollar amount: I could do a similar exercise with previous years. The simple fact is, there is just simply enormous volatility that is difficult to reconcile with reality in this series. [There is huge seasonal volatility, which is why the YoY change is so important. While FRED does have this info graphically for each of the approximately 400 metro areas in the survey, they don't carry the national average!] By contrast, here is a graph of average weekly wages from the monthly employment report: And here is the graph of the quarterly report of "usual median weekly wages": Bottom line: The QCEW is and has been for years a volatile outlier both to the upside and downside.
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