How the Huge Wave of Immigrants into the US in 2022 and 2023 Impacts the Employment Data of the BLS Household Survey

The BLS uses the Census Bureau’s understated population estimates that ignore the surge of immigrants. But the CBO’s estimates pick them up. We take a look.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Census Bureau have widely different estimates of US population growth for 2022 and 2023 because they have widely different estimates of immigration.

The CBO picked up on the huge wave of immigration. It estimated that net immigration in 2022 rose to 2.67 million immigrants, and in 2023 it rose to 3.30 million immigrants, the highest in its data going back to 2000, and about triple the average rate between 2000 and 2021 (1.05 million immigrants per year). So, population growth:

  • CBO: 0.89% for 2022 and 1.14% for 2023, the highest since 2005.
  • Census Bureau: 0.36% for 2022 and 0.49% for 2023.

In the past, both estimates were relatively similar, with the CBO’s estimates (red) usually being lower than the Census Bureau’s estimates (blue). But for 2022 and 2023, the divergence between them just blew out:

A big problem for the employment data in the BLS Household Survey.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics applies the results from its Household Survey – the percentage of people working and not working, looking for a job and not looking for a job, etc. – to the understated population data from the Census Bureau to produce its headline figures for the number of employed, the number of unemployed, the number of those actively looking for a job, the labor force, the unemployment rates, etc.

There is now widespread consensus that these understated population estimates by the Census Bureau have ended up understating overall employment and the labor force, and therefore overstating unemployment and the unemployment rates.

Let me explain.

Obviously, we’re astonished that we have two government agencies – the CBO and the Census Bureau – that so widely disagree with each other on this important topic of population and population growth. But we can see from various other reporting that the Census Bureau’s 2022 and 2023 estimates are way low.

And we cannot use the number of “border crossings” to help us nail down the influx of immigrants because “border crossings” numbers include people that were sent back and then crossed the border again, and were sent back again, and so they’re counted multiple times as border crossings though they’re not even in the US.

The census, taken in 2020 by the Census Bureau, produced more or less accurate figures, but the growth estimates for the years that followed, based on the Census Bureau’s formula, are just too low.

And this population data is important for all kinds of reasons, including the jobs report that the BLS releases on the first Friday of every month, with the one for March coming this Friday.

Impact on the employment data.

The BLS jobs report has two parts:

The “Establishment survey,” based on a survey of roughly 119,000 nonfarm business of all sizes, government agencies, nonprofits, etc.; it tracks the number of “jobs created,” which goes into every headline. This data set is not impacted by population estimates.

The “Household survey,” based on a survey of 60,000 households that rotate. Total employment, unemployment, labor force, labor force participation, unemployment rates, etc. are all based on the household survey. And this data is based on the population estimates by the Census Bureau.

Those two segments suddenly diverged.

There is always a substantial difference between the Establishment survey’s number of employees at nonfarm establishments and the Household survey’s overall employment which tracks everyone who is working, including the self-employed and farm workers.

So the Household survey’s number of workers (red in the chart below) is always larger than the number of employees on payrolls at nonfarm establishments (blue). In the years from 2015 until the pandemic, the difference was fairly stable at around 6.5 million workers.

But that difference has been shrinking. Over the past 12 months through February:

  • The Establishment survey added 2.75 million employees, which is very strong.
  • But the Household survey added only 667,000 workers, all of them in March and April 2023, and with employment actually falling over the past three months.

From 2015 through the beginning of the pandemic, the difference between the two was roughly stable at around 6.5 million workers. This difference has now shrunk by half:

Why? Because the household survey uses the Census Bureau population estimates.

The BLS applies the results of the Household Survey to the Census Bureau’s estimate of the population to come up with its figures for the overall number of employed, the number of unemployed, the number of those actively looking for a job, the labor force, the unemployment rates, etc.

Using the Census Bureau’s understated population then causes the BLS to understate overall employment and the labor force, and to therefore overstate the unemployment rates (people in the labor force who are unemployed and are actively looking for a job).

This huge wave of immigrants explains why the Establishment Survey of payroll jobs has been so strong:  lots of immigrants got hired.

And the huge wave of immigrants also explains why, despite the strong hiring by establishments – 2.75 million workers added over the past 12 months – the labor market hasn’t tightened up further and hasn’t produced much bigger wage pressures.

And the huge wave of now employed immigrants adds to the factors why consumer spending – immigrants are consumers too – has been so strong despite the higher interest rates: “Drunken sailors” we’ve called our consumers for something like a year-and-a-half.

But the BLS employment data from its Household Survey missed all this and has fallen behind because it’s applied to the understated population data from the Census Bureau.

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  112 comments for “How the Huge Wave of Immigrants into the US in 2022 and 2023 Impacts the Employment Data of the BLS Household Survey

  1. Trying to Learn says:

    “Using the Census Bureau’s understated population then causes the BLS to understate overall employment and the labor force”

    Wolf I did RTGA but can you explain the unemployment formula a little more. I would have expected population in the denominator (e.g. number of jobs divided by total population). But I think what you are saying is that the Household Survey is number of jobs divided by the 60k people they talk to to get an employment rate and then they multiply that by the total population to get the number of jobs. If that is right, are you sure that all this immigrants are either initially sampled as part of the 60k households (I would imagine that the BLS has a hard time contacting illegal immigrants) or that they have the same employment rate as the people surveyed?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “If that is right,…”

      In terms of the sampling, whether the new immigrants are part of the sample or not doesn’t make any difference because at the simplest most basic level so that even I can still follow it:

      Say the BLS gets 30,000 valid responses (old-line Americans to the newest arrivals), it figures how many of them were employed (say 18,000 or 60% of the sample). Then it applies that 60% to the understated population estimates to come up with the headline employment figure, which is then also understated.

      • Jay David says:

        The CBO growth rate was less the the CB rate for 13 of 14 years prior to this recent reversal. It appears it was about 0.2% lower in most years which is a lot of people, about 600k per year. So it was way behind CB. It seems plausible that the CBO number is now adjusting to reality and the CB number is perhaps still actually more accurate. Also if the CBO were more accurately tracking illegal immigration numbers it seems to should historically be higher in most years.

  2. Glen says:

    We obviously have significant anti immigrant sentiment in the US but do you expect that the significant immigrant work force not putting pressure on wage increases will create further problems? It seems like for America and Canada and much of Western Europe similar dynamics exist but of course for many countries with declining fertility rates it seems necessary. Seems like the rub is often between the balance of skilled and unskilled but that seems like an overly simplistic view.

    • Tim D. says:

      I disagree with that assertion that we have “significant anti-immigrant sentiment” in America; rather we have significant anti-illegal -immigration sentiment. As we should for a variety of reasons, most importantly being the degradation of the rule of law.

      • OutsideTheBox says:

        Legal ?


        Look up the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago.

        Right…….it’s only legal when WE do it.

        • n0b0dy says:

          you imply, with your ‘treaty’ comment, that these influxes of people are mexicans. thus justifying their entry under your misguided pretenses.

          first of all, the demographic makeup of immigrants, largely.. ARE NOT MEXICANS. i guess you just assume that, because they come THROUGH mexico. thats laughable in and of itself..

          but no, your flippancy goes even deeper..
          right or wrong, mexico lost a war. they signed a treaty to end it. this has happened with EVERY SINGLE WAR in history. justified or not, according to ‘your’ standards. were the romans ‘justified’ to sack carthage? the arabs constantinople? the implication of your comment is truly absurd when looking at history.

          and to make matters worse.. where did mexico get ‘their land’ from anyway? mexico was a spanish colony. the spanish just sailed over to america and said “ITS OURS”. it wasnt, but they took it anyway.

          so your point again was… what exactly?

        • OutsideTheBox says:


          Yes, since you were baffled by my comment, I will give a brief elaboration.

          The Treaty ( signed at gunpoint ) cut the territory of Mexico by 50% and expanded U.S. territory by almost 25%.

          Let me repeat that territory was taken by violence and was NOT a sale.

          So the U.S. acted in a lawless manner.
          To preserve this land the U.S. created laws aimed at keeping it.

          My point is this country has acted in a lawless manner throughout its history. Yet becomes outraged when OUR LAWS are disregarded.

          Oh the steaming hypocrisy !

        • Home toad says:

          If any of you bother to look at wolfs charts, you can clearly see in the defining red lines, this land is owned by the dinosaurs.

        • cas127 says:

          OutsidetheBox…wouldn’t have the lands discussed (including Mexico itself) have been part of the *Spanish Empire* at the outset? And how exactly did either the Spanish Empire or Mexican Government (which iteration of Mexican Government, btw) “acquire” those lands (presumably from Native Americans)?

          Your post essentially implies that uncontrolled illegal immigration for 10’s of millions is somehow legitimized by actions of 170+ years ago.

          But why stop there?

      • Steve J says:

        I only partially agree.

        My sense is (been a recruiter for over 30 years) there are still a lot of people who vilify both ends of the wage/education scale. And both have the same complaint. At the highest education levels they are angry at immigrants for being willing to attain degrees in Engineering, Finance, and Medical that few Americans are willing to work towards. At the lower level they vilify those who are willing to do jobs that most Americans are not willing to do.

        Immigrants can’t take away jobs that people are unwilling to do.

        Parents, I can assure you that if you don’t teach your children to value hard work and/or education, they may have a dislike for immigrants, and they will definitely write their rent checks out to them.

        • Glen says:

          Steve J,
          The DACA is a good example. Hard to see how this is in anyway a bad thing.

        • CrazyDoc says:

          I just wished governments over the last decades here had policies that were favorable to American family formation – tax, education, etc. If they were in place maybe I would have had 6-8 kids. Instead, the policies are strangling family formation unless you want to have lots of kids with no responsibilities (either financially or as a parent)

        • elbowwilham says:

          My Ex is an immigrant. In the early 2000s she got most of her college paid for by the State. But as a citizen I was not able to get the same benefits. My problem isn’t with immigrants at all, my problem is with .gov policies that benefit them over actual citizens.

      • Escierto says:

        I have to laugh about the degradation of the rule of law. Yeah, there has definitely been a degradation recently but I don’t blame immigrants for it!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      There would have likely been even bigger wage increases in 2023 without this large supply of labor, especially in lower-lever services jobs. I think that’s what we’re seeing.

      • Sporkfed says:

        So less pay but higher living costs
        due to increased demand ?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          That’s an option.

        • Trucker Guy says:

          Corporate America’s dream. Lest we forget the companies with job postings that they intentionally don’t fill so that they can say there are no qualified Americans and they need to import visas sponsored 3rd world workers for slave wages.

          I’ve seen it in my recent job search. The same companies with garbage reputations that only hire immigrants from India/Pakistan/Eastern Europe have job postings on indeed that never come down and get 200 applications. For a truck driving job. Then you get out at the truck stops and see the people driving that companies truck and they can’t even speak English. God forbid you get a good dumping of snow on the mountain passes. These guys haven’t even ever heard of tire chains. They’re getting paid 1/2 of what any other trucker makes and being forced into a 1099 deal.

          The situation is the exact same but far wider spread in Canada. I think that is where the US is headed. Absolutely insane housing costs, elevated cost of living, repressed wages. Meanwhile, the slightest hint of unionizing will nearly make the exploited (and brainwashed) working class revolt.

          The same drivers I’ve met who’ve spent 30 years behind the wheel working 70 hours weeks to only have a double wide to show for it will nearly fight me for talking up union jobs. It’s a bloodbath right now in the trucking world. I interviewed with a company paying moderate wages and they had guys flying in from Seattle to Spokane to just interview. They’d offer to live in a pull behind camper just for a seasonal construction dump truck job. The same guys that are militantly against any form of immigration will vote for people that are actively trying to replace them with slave labor. And the unions, who are having their nonunion competitor carriers rush to bring in visa workers are voting for people who want the border to be a one way street.

          It’s almost as if American politics is a representation of corporate America and nothing else. Such a fickle area of discussion. I remember reading a history book once and Regan being the pro immigration guy, and Democrats trying to protect US jobs. Now Democrats let the border crossings go unabated and the Republicans feign concern but really don’t care as lobbying groups for big business want desperate workers willing to slave away for little compensation than to deal with “entitled high cost” American natives.

          Looks to me like globalism is dragging the developed worlds down to the mean average historical standard of poverty more than it’s elevating the impoverished places. It’s working just as intended.

          Oh well, back to my 75k dollar a year job that works me 60 hours a week and 2k/mo. rent. Gonna look through some more 400k dollar mobile homes and wish wistfully. It’s working just like they want, I’m not having any kids or family on this kind of money. Just got to remind myself I’m one of the lucky ones. I could be a college educated barista making 40k a year.

        • IN says:

          >>It’s a bloodbath right now in the trucking world

          Trucker Guy, it’s interesting, because just a few years ago, back when I lived in Pennsylvania, every local discussion board was full of “Drivers wanted ASAP, CDL training paid for, huge sign-up bonus!” posts. It actually was a recurring theme in the ex-USSR immigrant community that drove A LOT of people here over the last few years – a lot of folks from ex-USSR countries were coming here (PA, OH, MI, as far as I’ve heard) to become truck drivers.
          Was it misleading back then?

    • David Brailsford says:

      I can only speak for myself when I say that I am anti-illegal immigration. I am a legal immigrant myself and that is how I think it should be done. I am very pro-immigration.

      • ChS says:

        I believe the vast majority of US citizens, born here or immigrant, feel the same

      • Jon says:

        I feel the same and I am a legal immigrant here

      • Kile says:


        I can’t help but thinking that the attitudes those who expouse the “virtures” of illegal immigration has to be an extreme slap in the face to a person who has gone through the insanely difficult “legal” immigration process. Effectively punishing those who struggle and do it the legal way (which, btw, is way more difficult than it should be) and rewarding those who, in effect, cheat.

        I’m always curious. Who gets to decide which laws and rules must be followed and by whom?

        Talk about mis-aligned incentives.

        P.S. I’m pro-immigration

        • Gabriel says:


        • Escierto says:

          I immigrated to the US from Canada many, many years ago. I am sympathetic to anyone who leaves their native land as I did and as my ancestors left Ireland and England hundreds of years ago.

      • Alex says:

        Been going through the legal process for my spouse for about a year now. It’s been very expensive, complex, slow, and it is incredibly opaque. A lot of lost sleep.

        I have sympathy for the folks sitting on street corners every day in my city but I also read the USCIS ombudsman report which directly identifies reallocation of staff to the border as a major driver of the USCIS processing backlog (which has exploded under Biden). This backlog is incredibly painful for us.

        It’s frustrating to be a citizen with a lawful marriage who has to pay for immigration (USCIS is a fee funded agency), wait amidst record backlogs, have to prove I have sufficient income to keep my spouse off of any benefits, and then prove the validity of our relationship to the government and wait more than a year to have someone sign off that we’re legitimate before my spouse can even go home to visit her relatives.

        My spouse also has an advanced degree and hasn’t been able to even get an interview for 6 months since getting a work permit (literally HUDNREDS of applications). On top of that, my spouse passed the “substantial presence test” which means we’re taxed on the income my spouse earned in their home country before quitting their job to come here and be unemployed (no US tax treaties with the home county). Meanwhile every day I read articles and listen to news interviews where lawful and unlawful immigration are used interchangeably and I can’t help but feel some resentment about it. In my city, there is strong advocacy to provide houses to all of the new folks here, while my spouse and I are crammed into a tiny 1 bedroom apartment at market rent, no car, and likely no chance at having a home in the next decade unless something radically changes.

        As some are saying, I am also completely pro immigration. All of my ancestors immigrated in the last 150 years to the US, and I myself spent 10 years of my life living outside of the US; I can’t even count the number of incredibly motivated, educated, hardworking, and all around decent people I’ve know over those years that would have given everything for a chance to come and live productively in the US, but who respect US law and instead spend their prime working years losing the visa lottery year after year after year. Such a waste.

      • cas127 says:

        ” and that is how I think it should be done”


        The pro-illegal/MSM side has liked to pretend for decades that illegal immigration is the only option and that any opposition is by definition racist…somehow studiously ignoring the entire existence of the US’ *legal immigration* program.

    • Jon says:

      You obviously do not care about the wages and benefits of the younger generations. You got your retirement at age 62, but who cares about the following generations. As long as wages are low, ka-ching for corporations and their investors.

    • The Real Tony says:

      Only third world immigrants depress wages. People coming in from wealthy countries like Switzerland don’t depress wages.

    • Chengdu says:

      Supply vs demand depends on the observer.

      According to the san francisco/seattle school of thought, more supply of labor means demand for labor goes up and hence wages go up. In other schools of thought, supply of labor, reduces wages. Its all about perspective.

  3. Wisdom Seeker 2.0 says:

    In this case we should be revising per-capita spending analyses downwards as well. While real consumer spending is up, is real spending per person up, or is it stagnant with some doing well but many others struggling?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Maybe not. The population data could cancel out in the per-capita figures.

      The BEA produces the broadest monthly income figures. It also uses the Census Bureau population data. In its household surveys, it asks about all kinds of income. If it gets 30,000 responses in month X, for example, it averages those out and then applies the Census Bureau’s population data to those survey figures to come up with national income figures in many billions of dollars. It then divides that total by the population as per Census Bureau data to get per-capita.

      So at the most superficial level, it seems the population estimates would largely cancel out in the per-capita data.

  4. Bond Vigilante Wannabe says:


    Do you have an opinion on the inflationary impact of the immigration?

    It seems there are 2 forces at work: (1) deflation from lower wages for immigrants, potentially lowering overall wage levels (at least lower than they would otherwise be); and (2) government transfer payments (state, local and federal) to immigrants, along with transfer payments to service providers (e.g. hospitals) to cover immigrant expenses.

    My impression is that the overall impact is inflationary as the transfer payments are funded by increased deficit spending, and the corporations reaping the benefits of lower wages are using the money to fund stock repurchases and executive comp as opposed to maintaining or lower price levels.

    Do you have any work on this?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Immigrants work, earn money, and spend money, and so they contribute to consumer spending, and to inflationary pressures (including rents).

      Immigrants are also a new supply of labor, and so they reduce somewhat the upward pressures on wages, esp. at lower level services jobs.

      Those those two factors work against each other: more demand for consumer goods and services, but also more supply of labor.

      Transfer payments to immigrants, if any, are minuscule, so you can take that off your list. By far the biggest “transfer payment” is Social Security, and you have to have worked in the US long enough (min. 10 years full-time, and more part time) and legally before you qualify for SS benefits, so that’s not for new immigrants. If immigrants have not worked long enough in the US, they also don’t get unemployment insurance benefits. So you can take that off your list, etc. The stuff in the clickbait headlines about prepaid debit cards are just pilot programs in some cities. Essentially just petty cash. In NY City’s pilot program, a few thousand immigrants get debit cards with an average of $12.52 per person, per day for 28 days, to buy food with. $12.52 per day won’t buy enough to drive up inflation in NYC, LOL.

      • Einhal says:

        You are correct about direct transfer payments. However, unless immigrants are brought over to do a particular job and return home, like the 1950s Bracero program, they bring and have families, and their children require a ton of education spending, which is a form of transfer payment. They also require emergency room treatment (because of EMTALA, they are required to be treated) and other costs.

        Low skill immigration is not a good deal for America.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          No one here said it was a “good deal.” Illegal immigration should be stopped. I’m an immigrant and have been here longer than dirt, but we have laws, and immigrants need to follow the law, and the government needs to execute the law and halt abuses.

          But it’s hard to discuss something when people are throwing a lot of BS around. It’s complicated enough without BS.

        • Bond Vigilante Wannabe says:


          You definitely have a point. I am an immigrant, and can tell you that the burden of immigration is disproportionately felt by certain communities.

          Some cities/states are needing to float muni bonds to shore up the finances for hospitals, schools, etc.

          This really requires a federal solution, but certain states and municipalities who can’t control it are getting hit very hard.

          I do think the effects (when viewed from a local/state level) can be inflationary, and due to bond financing, it is very hard to track how much of it is due to immigration as opposed to general population increase.

      • JeffD says:

        However, illegal immigrants who are paid legally (i.e. not under the table) , are paying payroll taxes. Ergo, illegal immigrants are slowing Social Security “insolvency”, in spite of the fact that many/most may never receive benefits.

      • spencer says:

        My anecdotal evidence suggests that Medicaid is getting crushed by immigration.

      • Chengdu says:

        Lol. I bet the coastal folks dont understand that increased supply vs demand of labor means lower wages. Even if they do, they cant admit it because it goes against their core beliefs.

  5. shangtr0n says:

    Great insight, Wolf!

    Regarding your comment at the end: for the consumer spending data, if/when this is reported on a per capita basis, is the denominator used based on the Census or the CBO population data?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I’m not sure how per-capita pencils out in terms of incomes. The population data could cancel out in the per-capita figures.

      The BEA produces the broadest monthly income figures. It also uses the Census Bureau population data. In its household surveys, it asks about all kinds of income. If it gets 30,000 responses in month X, for example, it averages those out and then applies the Census Bureau’s population data to those survey figures to come up with national income figures in many billions of dollars. It then divides that total by the population as per Census Bureau data to get per-capita.

      So at the most superficial level, it seems the population estimates would largely cancel out in the per-capita data.

      • shangtr0n says:

        That makes sense. Is the same true of the consumer spending data that you break down in your Drunken Sailor updates?

        What I’m trying to get at is whether maybe, on a per capita basis, our drunken sailors maybe aren’t quite as drunk as they appear to be, if aggregate spending is (at least in part) being driven up by a surge in immigrants (who are under-estimated in the census data).

        • shangtr0n says:

          I.e., maybe the sailors aren’t quite as drunk, but there are more of them.

    • Home toad says:

      I would have a better understanding if I could see the surveys questions and who the survey is sent with this rotating schedule, 60 thousand households is good but still.
      They’ve been doing it this way for years and we’re still happy is also good…

      I’m looking for a rat.

  6. Sumit says:

    I might be missing something, but this analysis seems incorrect. The unemployment rate = the # unemployed/ total workforce *100. If the total workforce was underestimated by roughly 2 million per your analysis and all these uncounted immigrants found jobs, the # unemployed, i.e., the numerator would be unchanged. The denominator would increase by ~ 2 million but that would only reduce the unemployment rate by ~0.05%. Not zero but hardly significant in the grand scheme of things. Or do I have the math wrong? BTW, enjoy your stuff!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      That’s not how it works. Say the BLS gets 30,000 valid responses (old-line Americans to the newest arrivals), it figures how many of them were employed (say 18,000 or 60% of the sample). Then it applies that 60% to the understated population estimates to come up with the headline employment figure (the total jobs that everyone cites), which is then also understated. By understating the total jobs, it also understates the total labor force (jobs plus those looking for a job), and that understated labor force would then produce an overstated unemployment rate.

      • ThrowAway223 says:


        I still think I’m missing something as well. I’ve read the article four times and read through the BLS tech sheets several times. I appreciate your patience.

        In the response above are you saying that, instead of a direct extrapolation of the sample statistics to the population, BLS:

        -First calculates the total number of jobs based on those who claimed to be employed and extrapolates it across the whole population.

        -Then uses the employed number to calculate the labor force without a parallel population adjustment to the number of unemployed.

        -then calculates the size of the labor force (employed+unemployed) which is the basis for the unemployment rate using the formula above?

        My understanding is that all calculations are adjusted for population size together (i.e. a ratio derived from the survey would be accurate regardless of the total population size). In other words, the unemployment rate shouldn’t change, even though the number of jobs created is much higher.

        I only bring this up because it seems like what you’re saying is that the unemployment rate should be lower than the current 3.9%, or that’s my interpretation of “overstated.” If that’s the case, then isn’t the labor market even tighter than previously thought and the lack of real wage growth remains a mystery?

  7. MM says:

    Is it possible to redo the calculations from the household survey with the CBO pop data?

  8. Citizen AllenM says:

    Waves of workers show up, wages don’t rise. Color me shocked, shocked, shocked.

    And those workers are almost all starting with nothing, so the bottom end of the consumption train keeps on trucking.

    But housing, well housing is showing high end cracks. The cost of buying versus renting is craaaazy. Rent is the absolute economic choice for high end. The projected 20% fall based on no big interest rate cuts is really going to be toxic for the short term of the real estate profession, and flipping community.

    But hey, all those new people are going to eat, drink, and be merry with more money in their pockets than ever before. Think of it as importing replacements for the working class that didn’t keep repopulating due to the pill, and the high cost of over polished children encouraged by the American Dream. Met a long settled immigrant (30 years) still busting his azz in the trades- and paying for the last kid to go to college. None of the kids are interested in the trades- too hard for the long run.

    So, somebody has to hang the sheet rock, float, tape and tile these new houses for the winners of the American Dream sweepstakes. The losers living on disability, meh. They get a van down by the freeway, not even a river for them!

    As a winner of the American Dream sweepstakes, I will not make a peep about the higher taxes coming to paper over the social cracks in this crazy system. I figure it is simply going to be the price paid for a quiet exit for Generation X.

    Someday this war’s gonna end…

    • Brant Lee says:

      As an old fart I still make some good cash money hanging, floating and taping. I’m 66 and don’t take on big jobs anymore, but the money has never been better. Anyone just sitting on their ass all day at my age won’t be around long.

    • ChS says:

      “Think of it as importing replacements for the working class that didn’t keep repopulating”

      That’s exactly the point, we need the workers and many immigrants need or want the opportunity. But damn it! someone needs to pay attention to the numbers and the skills of the people coming to join us in battle because if we don’t the war is going to end too soon!

      • Glen says:

        Isn’t the somebody Congress, who are our dutifully elected representatives to execute the will of the people faithfully?
        Gang of 8 got close to something many years ago but didn’t and much has changed both in Congress and the immigration situation.
        Right now just grateful as I hire them to do things I needed directly versus the companies that hire them and pay them poorly.

        • ChS says:

          Well it starts with the executive branch since there are laws in place that are being ignored. But beyond that, yes, Congress can do better. See, that’s the thing with centralized government, it just doesn’t do a very good job, especially when distracted by too many responsibilities.

        • Glen says:

          Think we will have to agree to disagree on the central government issue. Not doubting but what are the specific articles of law that are being ignored? I understand their is executive order ping pong going on but I ignore that.

        • ChS says:

          Title 8, USC 1325 for starters

        • Glen says:

          That a really weak starting. A civil penalty? I guess you can allow them to stay in the country to fight the violation or start proceedings to deport them. Next people will want to imprison them where in CA that is about $132,000 year an inmate plus or minus. There has been a fundamental shift from mostly single Mexican men to families from everywhere and the resources, laws, and funding have not been addressed. It is indeed a difficult problem to solve but if people are willing to cross jungle a trespassing citation hardly is going to make a difference.
          I am enjoying the new Mexican government is pushing back as well. Thankfully the PRI has lost control. Last thing we need is for states to suddenly get to write their own immigration laws. That would simply lead to what often happens in this country, profiling.

        • ChS says:

          It is not just a civil penalty, it’s a criminal offense which is punishable by imprisonment, up to 6 months for a first offense and 2 years in prison for subsequent offenses.

          Regardless, your blanket dismissal of the “executive order ping pong” ignores the very data I believe you are looking for. For clarity, I am not a fan of Trump. However, enforcement of existing immigration laws by the Trump administration was much more effective in stemming the flow of illegal immigration than the Biden administration. The fact that Mayorkas bragged about rescinding 90 of Trump era immigration related executive orders and now we have unprecedented numbers of illegal immigrants is not a coincidence.

          I believe you are a compassionate person, but how compassionate is it to encourage people to make an absurdly dangerous journey through a jungle where scores of people have died and their bodies litter the trail. How compassionate is it to tacitly encourage human trafficking, including sex trafficking of children.

          There is a huge immigration problem, but allowing a disorganized and unregulated process to continue is not only bad for the US, it is bad for the immigrants themselves. The US needs workers and we should honor our obligations to refugees, but this shit is out of hand and could be made better without new laws. That is not to say new laws aren’t needed, but the buck stops at the president’s desk.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          ChS – ironic, as I recall, that by the numbers, the Obama admin. was more-effective than Trump’s…

          may we all find a better day.

    • Dan says:

      There’s no money in drywalling, painting, carpentry, or landscaping unless you’re a business owner. U.S. trades kids are becoming electricians, plumbers, and welders. I say let the immigrants come do those “medium-skilled” trades. It’s mutually beneficial. They get paid relatively well compared to their home country, we get cheaper services.

    • Mitry says:

      Maybe someone will have to hang the drywall, but I predict the number of tradesmen will remain the same or decline, driving prices for traditional trades up. I’d love to be wrong, but the way I see it skilled labor is inelastic. Cheaper building materials and simpler systems will take their place in the next building boom. Think mobile homes, 70s cabins, and gas station restroom architecture. They look nice for the first few years but don’t age well.

      In MN, where I live, there’s a missing middle movement that seeks to remove zoning laws. The idea is homeowners can finally build a mother-in-law suite above their detached garage, new homeowners can finally build a small house, but it will also allow building with cheaper materials.

      Not to be too harsh, but the guy who assembles Ikea furniture and mounts TVs as a side hustle will be putting together some of these new homes.

  9. John says:

    Sounds like employment should be revised higher. Just like the Fed dots ought to be eliminated with this information. The Fed is going to keep rates higher for longer because inflation will be here for a decade at least!

    • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

      Howdy Lone Wolf. So, how many new residential housing units would need to be built for 3 million immigrants? How many new housing units are built each year? Looks like the Bubba Bubble in New Residential Construction is well on its way? Just kidin about answering my questions. I think I know the answers… HEE HEE. Another great article and was not too over my head this time. THANKS

      • OutsideTheBox says:


        Sure isn’t 3 million SFHs.

        Not when the undocumented live with a dozen or more per dwelling.

        Three million divided by 15 is 200,000 dwellings.

        Math sure ruins the narrative, eh?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Yep, with hot-bedding and sharing, I’d say something like 500,000 houses and apartments max. In terms of farm workers, I’ve heard some crazy numbers per mobile home. But not all immigrants will be farm workers. I assume most will work in cities because that’s where most of the jobs are.

          Over the past four years, the US has built per year between 1.4 million and 1.6 million housing units each year. So that’s plenty of accommodate this population growth.

        • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

          Howdy OutsideTB Its Govern ment math I am referring to and its love of making bubbles, especially in Real Estate. NAR decisions, subsidies, laws, all programed on US. Continue watching Lone Wolf Articles on Residential Real Estate Construction. They are trying very hard to keep the bubble from popping.

        • Kaze says:

          I work in multifamily and the problem with illegals is that they can’t get on the lease, so they’ll have someone they know here rent an apartment and then all stay there until we kick them out. We have a two-bed right now with at least 12 people staying in it sleeping on air mattresses. We already evicted them once and they just had someone else rent a different unit and they all literally just moved across the street. They bank on the fact that the eviction process takes months at least, and that it’s hard to prove who is living there.

          Since they know they’re getting evicted anyway they just destroy the unit. Cooking 24/7 with the windows/drapes closed fills the whole unit with mold and forces us to have half the drywall and all the carpet replaced, just to begin with. Just grease and grime everywhere. Really a nightmare.

  10. Yaun says:

    Something I don’t understand:

    I had the unpleasant experience to hire both in state and out of state workers in the past as a small business owner. And even though I had the help of a payroll company doing most of the legal work, it was still layers of bureaucracy to wade through.

    So after all those shelfmeters of paper have been nicely filed, the government still cannot compile more accurate data than from some surveys with random participation rates?

    • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

      Howdy Yaun. If Govern ment kept accurate records, how could they lose or find the billions of dollars ?????

      • Shiloh1 says:

        Rumsfeld had that serious-looking stand-up desk and still lost track of $2,300,000,000,000. That was a lot of money back then, too.

    • Trucker Guy says:

      That’s because you’re operating your business legally. That’s your problem.

      Spend any amount of time in rural California, Washington or other megafarm corporate states. And be able to speak a minor amount of Spanish. These big corporate farms bring in thousands of temp. migrants during busy season and pay them peanuts which they take back to their home country. It is rarely legal and properly accounted for. They exploit these people because they don’t know better and to them ’bout tree-fiddy an hour is a good wage in their country.

      Or major companies with factories doing to same. I had many family members that worked in factories that hired illegals. Raids would go down and the young guys would run and escape. The older folks and women would get wrangled up and deported. 6 months later, they’re back at the office getting hired back on illegally.

      Remember, corporations aren’t people. Unless they are. If you’re big enough, nobody is going to jail. If you’re some dinky LLC with an illegal cooking in the back, you’re going to get nailed. If you’re a company with 10k employees and a corporate structure which obfuscates whose decision it was to bring in 2k migrants on Greyhound during harvest season illegally well, it’s just a fine for you. A fine that still is a fraction of what hiring Americans would have cost.

      It’s a sound financial decision to break the law if the punishment is cheaper than the legal way.

      • MOFO says:

        TG – I agree with both of your posts. Your points are not confined to blue collar workers either. In red state (or purple?) Arizona the state senate is delaying passage of HB2253 which would continue to fund the Arizona Board of Professional Registration. After all, who needs those pesky, expensive professional architects and engineers when just anybody will do?

        Immigration both legal and illegal is not working for America and no, I’m not against legal immigration.

        The oligarchs/demagogues that run our political system don’t care if they ruin our country so long as their share gets bigger. But, it’s been that way forever (it has been estimated that 10-20% of the Confederate soldiers were deserters – guess they didn’t want to die for rich, entitled slaveholders)!

        The demagogues will whine when their $25 million (or is it $400 million) mansions are underwater due to climate change conveniently denied so that their ‘fracker” buddies can avoid the cents-on-the-BTU infrastructure improvements that would prevent CH4 venting into the atmosphere (see Wolfs other article this morning). Once again, I am not against drilling or natural gas (just the opposite – I am a proponent) but why can’t we just pony-up and make it environmentally less damaging?

        You just watch – the taxpayers (that’s me and you) will pay the bills!

        Is it lost on anyone that about 40% of the House and 60% of the Senate are lawyers. Equality under the law – give me a break. If you are able to spend $50 or $60 million a year on legal fees you CAN bend the law to your will.

  11. OM says:

    2-3 million extra people working is nice.
    But in addition to correct counting of employment and unemployment, more questions pop up.
    Does the income those people earn go to overall national income from all sources? Or it’s also needs recalculation in addition to per capita income. And all other data points that depend on overall population and employment.

  12. LordSunbeamTheThird says:

    The UK has supermarket estimates of a population between 77 and 80 million (based on food consumption/shopping trips etc).
    The government estimate is that we hit 75 million by 2050…

    There are so many people that want to hide I don’t think formal government estimates work. You need to look at sewage, water consumption etc and you can link hospital admissions to historical accident rates. I suppose with the different states and the size of the US must be tricky. Walmart could generate an estimate but doesn’t.

    • Tom S. says:

      On one hand, if you’re not a taxpayer or taxpayer adjacent, I’m not sure how much the government should really care.

      On the other, it makes the wealth per capita numbers look better to underestimate the population size.

  13. ThrowAway223 says:


    Can you go into greater detail on why this would overstate unemployment and unemployment rates? Wouldn’t the unemployment rate actually be higher, particularly in the major MSAs in which the arrivals are concentrated?

  14. Cobalt Programmer says:

    1. Number of marriages and child birth is going down in western nations including US. Hence there must be legal immigration to balance the retirees.
    2. Japan, Taiwan and south Korea are trying to get more legal immigrants to increase their population.
    3. Even Scandinavian countries want more qualified people.
    4. Social security needs to be funded by young people working from other countries.
    5. Think about India. Every year 25 million kids are born (approximately 2-3 % of the current population 1.5 billion).
    6. To put that in perspective, every year India makes an Australia or 50% of Ukraine or 500% of Norway.
    7. Several European countries have population less than margin error of number of babies born in India.
    8. I heard once upon a time Canada had open visa for Indians. They quickly closed it.
    9. You cant understand that magnitude because Russia and Australia are way bigger than India. Only person who really understand is the Protestant family man in the movie Monty python meaning of life.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Fertility rates in India have already slowed to near replacement rate, currently at 2.03%. So look at the percentages, not at the raw numbers, when you make comparisons to other countries with a tiny fraction of India’s population (1.4 billion people).

  15. The Real Tony says:

    Hopefully America will be selective when taking in immigrants. As can be seen in Canada the productivity of a country literally falls off the edge of a cliff when it takes in refugees from India and Pakistan. At the same time the productive locals are leaving the country trying to emigrate to America making the productivity rate fall even faster in Canada. Fortunately America can be selective but in Canada its a far different story. No sane person from the civilized world would come to Canada.

  16. Dan says:

    This might explain why construction wages have been relatively stagnant since Mar 2022 despite the industry booming

    • Wolf Richter says:

      LOL. you have no idea what you’re looking at in this chart you linked. This is the change from a year ago. As the chart shows, since 2021, wages in construction have risen year-over-year by a range between 4.7% and 6%. Over the past 24 months (since Feb 2022), construction wages have risen by 10.5%, based on the chart you linked.

  17. MCD says:

    Garbage in results in garbage out.
    If in fact the census is in fact undercounting illegal immigrants there will be large knock on effects overstating productivity. Productivity gains are a major factor influencing the Congressional Budget Office (CBO’s) economic projections. The CBO uses these productivity projections to estimate future federal government revenue, spending, deficits, and debt. The CBO’s economic forecasts rely heavily on assumptions about future productivity gains. Even if the annual population increases are undercounted in the low single digit millions the error becomes magnified with regard to CBO productivity projections. Wolf, please devote more time to reporting on this topic.

    • The Real Tony says:

      Someone can be illegal but not be of lower ilk or lower social strata therefore they won’t suppress or depress wages.

    • JeffD says:

      All government data is untrustworthy at this point. Their data collection channels are 100 years old (surveys) when they could have real time electronic data from companies at their fingertips. The government’s “problem” in modernizing is that essentially all of the self important bean counters would no longer have a role/job.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        The government is using an all-sources method, that includes all kinds of real-time data, some of it purchased from the private sector, plus huge surveys.

    • The Struggler says:

      I’m thinking the CBO should focus more on deficit spending and interest payments than anything else?

      Shouldn’t both the above figures be approximately zero?

      But I have no financial education, so….

  18. SoCalBeachDude says:

    Tale of two car giants: Ford loses $47k per EV sold as electric bet backfires – while gas hybrid pioneer Toyota is set to enjoy record profits

    EV SHOCK: Head of world’s No1 automaker Toyota says battery EVs will never account for more than 3 in 10 vehicles sold – as ‘customers not regulations or politics will decide’ fate

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Ford executives cannot manage themselves out of a paper bag. They have a dealer revolt on their hands, with over half of Ford dealers refusing to sell EVs (they’d have to invest in training and equipment, and they refuse to do that and refuse to join Ford’s EV program). And every EV that Ford sells is an ICE that it doesn’t sell, so it has nothing to lose by not selling EVs, those morons think, except they’re already 10 years behind Tesla, and falling further behind.

      Even then, the only thing that’s growing in leaps and bounds at Ford, despite the dealer revolt and despite the morons running the company and despite the product problems and manufacturing setbacks they have had, are its EV sales, with EV sales surging 86% yoy 🤣

      And the morons at Toyota have hopelessly fallen behind, and they’re now trying to diss EVs to slow demand for a little while to give them some time to catch up because last year, Toyota had a come-to-Jesus meeting with reality, fired its anti-EV CEO and is now scrambling massively to catch up. But they need some time.

  19. Richard Greene says:

    Reading the article before I recommended it on my blog: I found a few problems and did not recommend it. I do like almost all of your other articles.

    The headline numbers are Payroll Jobs and Hthe ousehold Unemployment rate

    Both are not affected by the population undercount

    Undercounting the population would cause both Household Employment and Household Unemployment to be understated by the same percentage. If so, that would not affect the Household Unemployment Rate

    While a 0.65% population under count in 2023 would increase the gap between Household Employment and Payroll Jobs, there is another much bigger explanation:

    The rise of employed people with two or more jobs. This rise has been significant since the trough of 4.0% in April 2020 to 5.1% in February 2024. That adds up to an additional 3 million more multiple job employees. That would easily explain the increasing Household / Payroll gap since Spring 2020. But this gap is no big deal because the gap is below average now.

    In almost four years, 1.1% of the workforce became multiple job holders. That 3 million increase would increase the Payroll Employment Number but not the Household Employment number. It’s impossible to say how many of those new part time jobs got counted by the Payroll Survey. I would guess a lot did get counted

    The chart that clams to show “Number of Workers” actually shows the number of payroll jobs and the number of employed people.

    I don’t expect this criticism to be published, but I thought you would be interested anyway. I wrote an economics newsletter for 43 years.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Stupid clueless Bullshit. RTGDFA. If your blog is equal bullshit, dude, give it up. Work on a novel instead. You can make up everything in a novel.

      So I’ll just crush your premise:

      “The headline numbers are Payroll Jobs and Hthe ousehold Unemployment rate. Both are not affected by the population undercount”

      Nope, and I distinguished the two. The headline payroll number is based on the establishment survey (employers) and stays within the universe of employers and has nothing to do with population count. It’s only the households survey that extrapolates household data to the population count.

      I stopped reading there because the rest of your crap is based on this bullshit and not worth my time. Adios brother.

      • Richard Greene says:

        An unexpected publishing of my comment but expected vicious character attack because that has been your style before. Not becoming. I am positive this comment will not be published.

        You have been caught making an error, ignoring the main point in my comment and falsifying what I wrote.

        I wrote that the headline numbers, the Establishment Jobs number and the Household Unemployment Rate, are BOTH not affected by the population undercount.

        That is a fact you can not stand to hear.
        So you misinterpreted what I wrote.
        And then attacked.

        Of course you do not listen to people who don not agree with you or correct your errors

        Please don’t bother replying with more insults. I have deleted your website from my bookmarks list. A person who is not intelligent enough to debate politely is not an author for me.

        If the Household Survey undercounts the Labor Force , Employment and Unemployment by let’ say 2%, because the population number is understated by 2%, one can make an adjustment.

        They can increase the population by about 2%
        to correct the undercount error

        That means the Labor Force number, Unemployment Number and Employment Number all go up about 2% with the adjustment

        What happens to the unemployment rate in all the headlines?

        It stays the same

        It is not affected by an error that equally percentage changes the numerator and denominator of the fraction:

        unemployed people / labor force people

        If the unemployment rate was 5%
        And you then increased both the fraction numerator and denominator by 2% to fix a population miscount, the unemployment rate stays at 5%

        Basic math
        10th grade level
        Apparently above your head

        Thanks also for ignoring the 3 million additional multi-job holders from April 2020 through February 2024. as the percentage of multi-job holders increased from 4.0% to 5.1%. Multiply those percentage by the Household labor force in those months and the multi-job holder count goes up by 3 million. But never mind that.

        I have the economic data
        You have the vicious character attacks, that should be an effective message to avoid disagreeing with the website czar. Real conservative principle there.

    • MM says:

      “In almost four years, 1.1% of the workforce became multiple job holders. That 3 million increase would increase the Payroll Employment Number”

      Only if those multiple job-holders hold multiple wage or salary aka W-2 jobs.

      This is almost never the case – I know because I work multiple jobs and so do a lot of my friends. Having “multiple jobs” means at least one is 1099 gig work. I’ve never met anyone with multiple W-2 jobs. Full time and side hustle is how we do it.

      Some of my friends are /only/ employed by 1099 work, and they actually support themselves quite well on this income. Personally I have a full-time, and do 1099 work for another company.

      I mention this because independent contractors are not counted in the establishment survey – therefore, an increase in multiple jobholders would be expected to widen the gap between the two. But instead the exact opposite is happening; the gap is getting smaller. This suggests that people who previously did 1099 work are moving into traditional W-2 employment.

  20. Bond Vigilante Wannabe says:


    Do you think that state minimum wage laws (e.g. California $20 fast food workers) will start a wave of layoffs?

    Anecdotally, this is happening, but the follow on effect (whether those workers find other jobs quickly, at what pay, and are they moving to other cities or states) is hard to see in the data (at least for me).

    This is likely to tie in directly to the inflation/deflation push pull (more immigrant labor– deflationary, but higher minimum wage– inflationary).

    What is the data telling you?

    • Glen says:

      I didn’t dive too far in but the anecdotal evidence is mostly inaccurate and misleading. Pizza delivery drivers are the common ones but that industry has completely shifted. Most economic studies show that increases in wages, assuming company doesn’t want to give up any profit, could be made up in productivity gains at raising each menu items but 5 or ten cents. Companies will likely raise it by 50 cents and blame it on the increase in minimum wage! I took would be interested as while I completely support it, it is really hard to find any objective data. Some of these franchises paid close to the $20 already so for many it isn’t a 25% bump. There are of course the other provisions of the law as well.

      • Bond Vigilante Wannabe says:


        Makes sense. I wanted to find any work on whether it is leading to price increases (pass on wage hikes to consumers), or just layoffs of less efficient staff and/or shutdowns/contractions of less efficient businesses.

        Also, big layoffs in this area are only meaningful if the laid off workers don’t find new jobs quickly.

        Really hard to estimate what impact (if any) this will be long term.

        But it does look like it could be the beginnings of a wage-price spiral…

      • WB says:


        Yes, a major corporation with a large market share can cover the increase in labor costs with increases in productivity, but only if this is simply working the same souls harder. Small businesses cannot. However, if they have to make a capital investment to get that increase in productivity, then that is an additional cost they must cover. Ultimately, this means the customers pays the higher price or they let go of the less productive workers. See my comment below. It’s complete an insane soviet-style policy to significantly increase the cost of doing business and just think those costs just get magically covered, especially in an inflationary environment. We seem to be creeping closer to the “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us” phase…

    • MM says:

      Do you think that state minimum wage laws (e.g. California $20 fast food workers) will start a wave of layoffs?

      Question: how much were those workers making previously?

      In my state (NH) the min wage is the same as Federal – $7.25/hr – yet all the fast food & unskilled retail jobs in town start at $17-$18/hr.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Every time a city or state raises the minimum wage, there is all this brouhaha about in certain media outlets about waves of layoffs. And then it doesn’t happen. What causes layoffs is lack of demand and dropping revenues. California is expensive, and fast-food jobs are tough jobs with short shifts and split shifts and not enough hours, and people need to get paid properly for those jobs. And with the influx of immigrants, there is an endless supply of labor, so the labor market isn’t going to do its job at bringing up wages.

      And if folks have to pay 39 cent more for their hamburger, in addition to their $5,000 mortgage payment, well, so be it. They’ll get over it.

  21. WB says:

    Are we all really so silly not to see that this has been bifurcating society as more of these desperate souls participate in a growing underground economy.

    Let’s be honest, we all see the day laborers getting picked up at the beginning of the day and dropped back off in the evening, cash in hand. It’s completely silly to think that any honest business can simple absorb an increase in their labor costs without passing that cost on to their customers. Similar thing happened in the 70’s. I see physical cash coming into demand again.

    • Indelible says:

      Of course that is happening!

      Government can’t account for all the border crossers, so how can they possibly account for how many are seeking/holding jobs?

      I have a friend bragging about paying cash to an undocumented Honduran, for a kitchen remodel, at about half the prevailing contractor rate.

  22. SoCalBeachDude says:

    MW: Dow sheds over 500 points as investors await jobs report

  23. Tom S. says:

    Digging into it, it looks like the census migration estimate is in some convoluted way based off of their ACS data, which dates back to 2022. So it may be that the census bureau hasn’t yet captured the recent uptick in immigration. Whereas the CBO updated their immigration trends in January of this year.

  24. Richard Arguile says:

    I don’t think your conclusion about the CBO immigration growth is realistic.
    What about the JOLTS report?

    “Number of unemployed people per job opening unchanged in February for tenth consecutive month.”

    So – for ten months of staggering levels of illegal immigration, the ratio of unemployed to jobs hasn’t changed. So about three million people came here and yet virtually none of those vacant jobs were filled?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I have no idea what your beef is, and maybe you don’t either?

      1. Your “Number of unemployed people per job opening unchanged in February for tenth consecutive month” is just plain BS.

      2. The number of unemployed is based on the Census Bureau’s population data.

      3. There are the two data sets that go into the ratio of job openings to unemployed looking for work.

  25. jyl says:

    Wolf, can you help me better understand the nature of BLS’ under and over estimates?

    First, what is affected? I can see how using Census Bureau’s too-low population estimates would make BLS’ estimates of the absolute number of employed, unemployed, and labor force too low. I can also see how that would affect ratios like job openings to unemployed, where one term is affected by BLS over/under-estimate and the other term is not. What I don’t understand is why BLS’ estimate of the unemployment rate would be affected, since it seems both numerator and denominator would be affected and that would cancel out?

    Second, what is the approximate magnitude of the effect? If BLS used CBO’s population estimates instead of Census Bureau’s, would BLS’ absolute numbers for unemployed, employed, and labor force probably each be about 1.5% too low?

  26. Some Guy says:

    Thanks Wolf, this is fascinating – and information you can’t really get anywhere else, definitely not explained so clearly

  27. Michael Donahue says:

    If annual population growth is underestimated due to an influx of hardworking undocumented migrants therefore annual productivity growth is overestimated. This error becomes magnified when the CBO extrapolates and forecasts future productivity. These productivity forecasts have huge knock-on effects. One must ask why US productivity growth in recent years is so much higher than all other OEDC countries and Japan. Productivity growth matters for all sorts of reasons. Wolf, please follow up on this.

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