The U.S. economy added more jobs in May 2023 than in previous months, but crucial data in recent job reports reveal a cause for concern.
The country added nearly 340,000 jobs in nonfarm payroll employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to experts who spoke to the Daily Caller, BLS’ household survey, which collects data from households in the U.S., indicates the economy is headed in an unfavorable direction.
“While the headline jobs number blew away expectations, that’s not the whole story,” E.J. Antoni, a research fellow for Regional Economics at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, told the Daily Caller.
“When the report is viewed wholistically, as opposed to cherry picking a single datum point, it is further evidence that we are headed toward recession,” Antoni added.
The household survey showed that the number of Americans working multiple jobs increased while self-employment decreased. “When people move from self-employment to working for a business, or when they take a second (or third) job, that increases nonfarm payrolls, even though the actual number of people employed hasn’t changed,” Antoni told the Daily Caller.
According to the BLS, the household survey does not include any “duplication of individuals” because they are only counted once, regardless of the number of jobs they work.
“The household survey showed the opposite [of the establishment survey], with a loss of 310,000 jobs,” Antoni said. It also showed a drop of 23,000 full-time jobs and that part-time jobs plummeted by 220,000.
Antoni said the report shows that the labor market has moved from “growth to contraction.”
“The report dovetails perfectly with other data showing cash-strapped consumers getting additional jobs, or leaving self-employment, because their wages aren’t keeping up with inflation,” Antoni added.
Michael Faulkender, chief economist at the America First Policy Institute, told the Daily Caller that BLS’ report was “confusing.”
“If you ask companies, they are employing more people,” he said. “But if you ask households, fewer people are working.”
Something broke in Mar '22 – the establishment survey and household surveys have significant deviation: pic.twitter.com/zKVJLP9wJ6
— EJ Antoni (@RealEJAntoni) June 2, 2023
Antoni told the Daily Caller that inaccuracy in government data could lead to serious consequences.
“The accuracy of official government data ha[s] declined, and the Biden administration owes the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the American people an explanation,” he said.
According to BLS’ report, unemployment increased to 3.7%. Faulkender explained that the increase came from the decline in workers recorded in the household survey. He said such a result could be an ugly sign for the economy.
“If gig workers get hit with labor reduction / layoffs before salaried employees, this could be an early indication of job impacts that are coming,” Faulkender said.