Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases information regarding the number of jobs created and the unemployment situation in the U.S. economy. This report is also called the non-farm payrolls reading, since it does not include farm-related employment. It is usually released on the first Friday of each month.
The job numbers make up one of the most important data sets in trying to understand the strength or weakness of an economy. If the job numbers are improving, this means more people are being employed and the economy is gaining strength. If the job numbers are weakening, or there are outright job losses, this is an extremely troubling sign for the economy.
Since the financial crisis, job numbers in the U.S. economy have been mediocre and some troubling trends have been forming—such as a rise in part-time work, job creation in low-wage sectors, limited work that pays well, an increase in discouraged workers, and a significant number of Americans not partaking in the labor force. If the job numbers remain this dismal, they could have a significant impact on consumption—and essentially the overall U.S. economy.