Monday, September 02, 2019

Looking Ahead August NFP: Decennial Census Hiring and August Employment Revisions

by Calculated Risk on 9/02/2019 09:32:00 AM

CR Note: Decennial Census will impact the August employment report. See: How to Report the Monthly Employment Number excluding Temporary Census Hiring

From the Census Bureau: U.S. Census Bureau Announces the Start of First Major Field Operation for 2020 Census

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau briefed the media on the launch of address canvassing, the first major field operation of the 2020 Census. Address canvassing improves and refines the Census Bureau’s address list of households nationwide, which is necessary to deliver invitations to respond to the census. The address list plays a vital role in ensuring a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States.
“We were able to verify 65% of addresses using satellite imagery — a massive accomplishment for us,” said Census Bureau Geography Division Chief Deirdre Bishop during the briefing. “In 2010 we had to hire 150,000 people to verify 100% of the addresses in the field, this decade we will only have to hire about 40,000 employees around the nation to verify the remaining 35% of addresses.”
emphasis added
The Census hiring will lead to some confusion in reporting. For the underlying trend, the correct method is to report the employment change ex-Census hiring.

And here is a look at historical employment revisions for August since 2005.  Note that most of the revisions have been up.   This doesn't mean that the August 2019 revision will be up, but it does seem likely.   I'm not sure why the BLS has underestimated job growth in August (possibly because of the timing of seasonal teacher hiring and the end of the summer jobs).

Note: In 2008, the BLS significantly under reported job losses. That wasn't surprising since the initial models the BLS used missed turning points (something I wrote about in 2007). The BLS has since improved this model.

August Employment Report (000s)