UPDATED with WINNER! Contest: Guess the November Monthly Jobs Number and your class could win a $100 Amazon gift card!

Nov 18, 2021
UPDATE (12/3/21): 
The winner this month is....
  • Wendy Weddleton's students at the Sweetwater School in Glendale, Arizona estimated 217,000 new jobs would be created in November vs. actual of 210,000 which was reported this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Wondering how they did it? Here was their forecasting model: 
"The Special Education students were presented a lesson about different jobs and the importance of job growth. To guess the number of new jobs, each student was given 2 dice to roll, and could choose which number to put in tens/ones place. All numbers were added together to total 217." [Answer provided in the form was 217,000]
Congratulations! Wendy's class will be receiving a $100 Amazon gift card for their efforts.
Thank you for participating! Look for a new contest in January 2022 to predict the Consumer Price Index (CPI) given the concerns about rising inflation.
Original post: 


We received 100 entries from classrooms across the country the first time we ran the contest so we thought...why not do it again? ICYMI, Catherine Sturtz's period 9 class Intro to Business and Finance at Miller Place High School (NY) estimated October job growth of 525,000 vs. actual of 531,000.  Congrats to Catherine and her students! 


One of the most important economic indicators is announced on the first Friday of every month at 8:30am ET:  the monthly jobs report. This data provides a signal on the health of the labor market by measuring the change in employment (aka “non-farm payrolls”) based on data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These figures are watched closely by investors as well as the Federal Reserve. 

Lately these statistics have confounded the experts on Wall Street. Their sophisticated models to estimate new job creation have been surprisingly inaccurate as their recent performance indicates:

Ok, the experts did do better with the October numbers as they guesstimated 450,000 vs. actual of 531,000.

So now is your chance!  What does your class think the job growth number will be for November, which will be released on December 3rd, 2021 at 8:30am. 

Here’s a chart showing new jobs created (or lost) for each month over the past 12 months. Note: All amounts are in THOUSANDS OF JOBS: 


Contest details: 

1. Have your class research the importance of the monthly jobs report. Here’s a few resources to get you started:

  • Article: Why the U.S. Monthly Jobs Report Matters (How Stuff Works)
  • Video: Why the Jobs Report Matters to Investors (TD Ameritrade)
  • Article (analyzes latest jobs report): Jobs Report and the Monthly Employment Growth Statistics (The Balance)

2. Have YOUR class come up with ONE estimate for the November jobs report rounded to the  nearest thousand (e.g., 194,000). 

3. COMPLETE this form before 8:30am ET on December 3rd to be eligible. for the $100 Amazon gift card. 

4. After the monthly jobs figures are announced by BLS on December 3rd at 8:30am ET, the winning classroom will be notified and will receive a $100 Amazon gift card to use at their discretion (and national bragging rights too). 

Good luck!


Interested in the intersection between Economics and Personal Finance? Be sure to check out NGPF's Economics Directory and NEW! Econ Collection

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.