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How Do Holidays Affect the Unemployment Rate?

A FRED Blog post by economist Christian Zimmermann digs into the hows and whys of one of the most common changes made to economic data: taking out day-to-day volatility with a technique called "seasonal adjustment." Seasonal adjustment, a mathematical technique to smooth out the data, helps economists see the cyclical trends underlying month-to-month patterns caused by school schedules, holidays, harvests, and other factors, without getting bogged down in the constant up-and-down of the raw numbers. 

The need for seasonal adjustment has decreased since the 1950s as industries with more seasonal hiring, like agriculture and manufacturing, have shrunk. A larger portion of the U.S. workforce now works year-round. 

Read the full post here