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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the United States conducts two major surveys to collect labor market data: the Establishment survey (also known as the Payroll survey) and the Household survey (also known as the Current Population Survey). These two surveys serve different purposes and provide different types of employment and unemployment data.
Establishment Survey (Payroll Survey):
- The Establishment survey is primarily focused on collecting data from businesses and employers.
- It provides information on nonfarm wage and salary employment, hours worked, and earnings for various industries and sectors.
- It is considered a more comprehensive measure of job growth and employment levels, as it covers a large portion of the workforce, excluding some agricultural and self-employed workers.
- This survey is the primary source for key labor market indicators such as nonfarm payroll employment, the unemployment rate, and average hourly earnings.
- It helps in understanding trends in job creation, wage growth, and industry-specific employment changes.
Household Survey (Current Population Survey):
The Household survey gathers data directly from individuals and households.
- It provides information on the labor force status of individuals, including employed, unemployed, and not in the labor force.
- It is used to calculate the official unemployment rate and provides a broader perspective on the labor market by including people who may not be captured in the establishment survey, such as the self-employed, agricultural workers, and those in nontraditional or informal jobs.
- It also collects data on demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, race, and educational attainment, which can be useful for - analyzing labor force participation and employment patterns.
In summary, the Establishment survey focuses on employment data obtained from businesses and is more oriented toward providing industry-specific and payroll-related information, while the Household survey collects data directly from individuals and is used to determine the unemployment rate and to gather information on a wider range of labor force characteristics. These two surveys complement each other and provide a comprehensive picture of the U.S. labor market.