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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Whatever you think about the economy, you’ll find something in this morning’s conflicting jobs report to reinforce your views: America's job market is white-hot and the labor market is anemic.

Between the lines: The conflict comes from the two separate surveys the government uses to compile the report.

Be smart: The consensus among economists and market watchers seems to be that the survey of households — showing a booming employment situation, with 1.13 million new jobs last month — is more on-point than the survey of employers, which showed much more weakness.

Why it matters: If we're at or near full employment, then the Federal Reserve should take its foot off the gas pedal and maybe even start thinking about tapping the brakes.

  • If there's still a long way to go before we get back to full employment, on the other hand, then the Fed shouldn't leave the most vulnerable Americans behind.

By the numbers: According to the survey of employers, 210,000 jobs were created in November. That's just one third of the 575,000 new jobs that economists expected.

  • In the household survey, however, the headline unemployment rate plunged to 4.2%, down from 4.6%.

What they're saying: "My sense is the household estimate is closer to the truth around what is happening in the jobs market," tweets RSM US chief economist Joe Brusuelas.

  • America's smartest Fed watcher, The New York Times' Neil Irwin, agrees: "Normally the establishment survey is the better indicator of how things are going month to month, but right now the household survey better aligns with what the rest of the data and anecdotes are telling us."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

Go deeper

America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic

Data: BLS; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The shortage of workers in the U.S. has become a flywheel of doom, messing up our lives and society writ large. And many of the underlying problems that led to this breakdown are bigger than the pandemic.

The big picture: Millions of immigrants, older workers and mothers are missing from the labor force. Those labor shortages create problems like supply chain woes, school closures, and skyrocketing child care costs — and some of those problems further exacerbate the worker shortages.

Biden names Sarah Bloom Raskin as Fed's top banking regulator

Sarah Bloom Raskin during a Fed meeting in 2013. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will nominate Sarah Bloom Raskin as the Federal Reserve's top Wall Street cop, a Biden administration official said, one of three nominees being unveiled for the critical open seats on the central bank's board of governors.

Why it matters: It's Biden's biggest mark yet on the influential economic body that's center stage as the country grapples with inflation rising at the fastest pace in decades and a recovering labor market.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.