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A Graphic Guide to the Monthly Jobs Report

Are people gaining or losing jobs? Our graphic guide dives into the numbers.
Image: Thousands Of Malls Across U.S. Threatened As Retail Stores Pull Out
File photo of shopping mall on March 28, 2017 in Waterbury, Connecticut.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

How's the nation's economy doing? One good temperature read comes during "Jobs Day," the first Friday of every month when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its report on hiring.

It tells us how many jobs were gained and lost in the last month, and what the overall unemployment rate is.

At a Glance

The report is extensive — usually about 40 pages — so we've created this guide to get you up to speed on the key takeaways from this month.

The Unemployment Number

The official unemployment number most often-cited by economists and in the press includes all workers who are without jobs who have been actively looking for work. It does not include people who have given up looking for work or who work part-time but would like to work full-time. The most recent number is seen below.

Change in Jobs

One of the most important numbers in the report is how many jobs were created or lost in the economy compared with the previous month. Below, the change in the number of jobs is shown on a month-by-month basis, going back about 10 years to a point before the 2009 recession.

Where There's Disagreement

There's disagreement across the political spectrum on whether the official unemployment number is the best representation of the economy. A second figure, called the U-6 rate, is shown below in orange above the official rate. The U-6 rate shows workers who have given up trying to find work or who work part-time but would like to be working full-time.

Still, some do not believe this figure goes far enough. On the campaign trail, President Trump said the real unemployment rate could be as high as 42 percent. Any figure this high would need to include persons who have retired in addition to students, those with disabilities and others who are unable to work. Almost all economists do not think this figure represents unemployment in the labor force accurately.

Learn More

Our most recent coverage to put these jobs numbers in context.


U.S. Added 138,000 Jobs in May, Unemployment Falls to 4.3 Percent


Unemployment Hits Its Lowest Rate in Almost a Decade


Retail Pain is Plain in March Jobs Report


Trump’s First Real Economic Report Card


First Jobs Report Released Under Trump Presidency Shows Solid Gains