Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Best Damn Employment Chart Ever

The following chart is from Macroblog -- a blog issued by the Atlanta Federal reserve.

Here's their explanation:

As a first pass, we've organized a collection of variables we find interesting, grouped in the categories I just described. In the category of employer behavior we include payroll employment (from the BLS's Establishment Payroll Survey, also known as the Current Employment Statistics survey), job vacancies or job openings, and hires (from JOLTS). Variables in the confidence category include hiring plans (from the National Federation of Independent Business's jobs report), job availability (from the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Survey), and quits (from JOLTS). The utilization group contains unemployment (from the BLS's Current Population Survey, or CPS), marginally attached workers (from the CPS), the job finding rate (defined as the ratio of short-term to long-term unemployed as described in work by University of Chicago professor Rob Shimer), and workers who are part-time for economic reasons (from the CPS). Finally, we capture leading indicators with initial claims for unemployment insurance (from the U.S. Department of Labor), difficulty in filling jobs (from the NFIB small business jobs report), and temporary help services employment (from the CES).

Here's what I like very much about this chart.

By definition, employment is an incredibly complex economic statistics that involves at least four sub-sets of data:
  • Employer Behavior includes indicators related to the hiring activities of employers.
  • Confidence includes indicators of employer and worker confidence in the labor market.
  • Utilization includes measures related to available labor resources.
  • Leading Indicators shows data that typically provide insight into the future direction of overall labor market activity.
The above chart really highlights that complexity and shows that some of the sets are already performing well (the leading indicators) while others (employer behavior and overall confidence) are still weak.  Utilization is in terrible shape.

They fully admit that this statistic is a work in progress, but I sincerely hope they continue to work on and refine this model.  I think it's the best thing out there.