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The Curious Case of a Million Missing Workers
In addition to the other economic anomalies brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we can add questions about the quality of government statistics. A recent Philadelphia Fed analysis shows that employment numbers in the second quarter of 2022 were overstated by more than a million workers, suggesting that only 10,500 jobs were created for the period. The discrepancy results from their analysis of the lagging Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data, considered the gold standard of Bureau of Labor Statistics employment surveys. QCEW data is far more comprehensive and accurate in surveying businesses than the Bureau’s Current Employment Statistics, which includes the oft-cited establishment survey. The analysis tracks with our comments last July highlighting the conflicting reports between the household and establishment surveys.
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