Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The November Review

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The November Review

Article excerpt

Thomas Edison is credited with saying, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." However true that may be of genius, it is entirely accurate in the field of economic statistics. As Joshua C. Pinkston and James R. Spletzer point out, there is nothing easy about creating annual measures of gross gains and losses in employment from the quarterly statistics that the Bureau of Labor Statistics collects; the only secret is to sweat the details. In the end, however, there is a clear increase in economic understanding: "The annual statistics show job gains and losses over a year. The sum of quarterly numbers looks at gains and losses during a year." Each of these is the answer to a different analytical question.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) was introduced to readers of this Review in our December 2001 issue. Kelly A. Clark, a co-author of that piece, now shares some of the early findings of that program. The basic trends in the data are consistent with the results of other surveys, but provide new insight into the detailed working of the labor market. …

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