Data point of the day: actual unemployment rates

Below is a chart of the actual non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates as calculated via the household survey. All of the unemployment rates are down from March to April. And the broad measure is down the most, from 16.2% to 15.4%. That’s a huge shift, so there are some heavy seasonal factors involved.


Then, there is the actual number of persons unemployed. According to the household survey, this went down a lot, 650,000. What’s more is the actual number of persons employed increased from March to April. Again, this data is clearly at odds with the seasonally-adjusted data, so this is obviously due to seasonal workers returning to work.


Here is the historical data. You can see a huge dip from March to April pretty much every year due to seasonality. Does anyone have a peg on which professions are causing this? By the way, the only year that the actual number of unemployed increased from March to April in the last 30 years was 1980:


Employment Situation Summary – U.S. Department of Labor

  1. Sobers says

    Seasonal jobs must be agricultural and tourism related mostly I would have thought. Crops have to be planted and then harvested in spring and summer, and shops, bars, restaurants, theme parks, zoos, etc etc have to take on staff for the tourist season, having been closed over the winter.

    There must be a similar upward blip in the run up to Christmas.

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