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Justin Fox

A Job Market Anomaly Begins to Correct

After diverging for awhile, business and household surveys of employment are headed in the same direction again: Up.

America is still hiring.

America is still hiring.

Photographer:  Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Today’s jobs report made clear that despite rising interest rates and incessant recession talk, American businesses are still hiring. This was reflected mainly in the headline 315,000-job increase in nonfarm payroll employment, but also in the less-closely watched employment estimate from the household survey that is used to determine the unemployment rate, which showed an August gain of 442,000. Adjust the household survey number to measure something more or less equivalent to nonfarm payrolls, and the increase was 599,000.

For a while this spring, the household survey seemed to be showing hardly any employment growth even as nonfarm payrolls kept rising at a healthy pace. Now — if you make the proper adjustments — both measures are showing solid job growth. Here’s another way of looking at the data: