When the US Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its jobs report the first Friday of every month, it reports the results of two separate surveys that together show the employment picture in the United States over the previous 30 days. The establishment survey, which polls businesses on hiring, is the headline number reported by every major news organization on Jobs Day. The number you don't see reported is the household survey which - you guessed it - polls households on their individual employment.
Over the course of a full year, these two surveys converge but they can and often differ month to month. If you were to look at recent headlines citing the establishment survey's result of 113k jobs gained in January, you would conclude that the pace of hiring over the past couple months has been weak and the strength of the economic recovery may not be as strong as we thought. What you would be missing, though, is that the January household survey reported a gain of 616k jobs. The two surveys paint vastly different pictures with vastly different implications. The question is how do you reconcile the different stories the two surveys are telling? Which one is more accurate?