BPEA | 1986 No. 2

A Quick Fix for the Unemployment Estimate

1986, No. 2

TELEVISION NEWSCASTERS must always reserve a few minutes on the first
Friday of each month to report the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics
announcement of the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate. While
everyone watches the movement of the indicator, few appreciate the
imprecision of the seasonal adjustment. This report looks at the problem
and recommends a simple “quick-fix” procedure that substantially
improves the accuracy of the initial estimate of the change in seasonally
adjusted unemployment.