What to Make of the Monthly Jobs Report

Today’s post comes to us from Workforce Institute Executive Director, Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR, and includes a conversation featuring Workforce Institute board member John Frehse.

The January 2022 jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics caught many by surprise, showing 467,000 jobs created across the country last month, according to the report. The number was much higher than forecasted by most economists, with many predicting much lower numbers for the highly anticipated report.

It’s not the first time that forecasts have varied from the reports’ actual numbers. Still, millions of people depend on the monthly jobs report and base critical economic decisions on the data. So, what’s to make of a monthly jobs report, and should we really base so many decisions on them?

In this episode of “No Suits, No Slides,” Workforce Institute advisory board member John Frehse, senior managing director of labor strategy at Ankura, and Dave Gilbertson, vice president at UKG, discuss whether we should be relying so much on the monthly jobs report. Are there better indicators and data we can look to for predicting how the economy is faring (such as high-frequency indices), especially in this pandemic recovery period?


Note: Though this conversation was filmed back in December, based on the November 2021 jobs report, it’s still very much a relevant discussion today.

Missed an episode? Catch up on the entire “No Suits, No Slides” series via the links below!

Episode 1: Hiring, Turnover, and the Economy
Episode 2: Where Did All the Workers Go? How Can We Get Them Back?
Episode 3: How Meaningful ESG Drives Performance: Part One
Episode 4: How Meaningful ESG Drives Performance: Part Two
Episode 5: Showing Gratitude for the Frontline Workforce
Episode 6: What Can Organizations Do About the Ongoing Labor Shortage?
Episode 7: Why Organizations Should Care About Belonging, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Episode 8: The Three Biggest Trends Impacting the Labor Shortage