Friday, August 06, 2004

We all know that George W. likes the household survey better than the employer survey when measuring employment, because the former shows many more jobs than the latter. According to the household survey, in fact, there are 1.87 million more jobs now than in January 2001.

Let's look more carefully. This is how the household survey (aka the Current Population Survey) defines "employment".
Persons 16 years and over in the civilian noninstitutional population who, during the reference week, (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees, worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, and (b) all those who were not working but who had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.
Note the fine print. If I have a "home business" grooming dogs for 10 hours a week, I am "employed" as far as the CPS is concerned. If I temped one day last week, I am "employed". If I stuffed envelopes for my father's company for 1 hour last week (my stay-at-home wife has done this a few times and been paid for it), I am "employed".

Glad to see the 'informal economy' is booming under President Bush!


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