February's report was quite strong - a gain of 192,000 jobs and a drop in the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, from 9 percent the month before. But NYT columnist David Leonhardt suspects that outlook might even be better than is reflected in the numbers. He points to the government's household survey, which is showing far greater improvement than its survey of businesses.
At turning points ... the household survey can detect changes before the business survey does. As Floyd Norris has explained, the numbers from the business survey may well end up being revised later on -- as more accurate data on start-ups flows in -- and looking more like the sunnier household survey. Today's report clearly raises the odds that we're in the middle of such a period now. Average job growth over the past three months has been only 102,000, according to the survey of businesses. But it's been 221,000 -- significantly more than population growth -- according to the survey of households. The unemployment rate, which is calculated from the household survey, has dropped sharply in the past few months in large part because of these job gains.