“I must find out what the January employment report means,” said Alice. “Is employment larger or smaller? Will bond yields go up or down? And what will happen to stocks?”

A sign hung from a large mushroom with the legend, “Bureau of Labor Statistics.” Alice stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over the edge of the mushroom. Her eyes immediately met those of a large blue caterpillar that was sitting on the top with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and wearing a badge that read, “Chief Labor Market Economist.”

“Please, sir,” Alice said, “Did employment go up or down in January? The ADP report says that it fell by 301,000 but the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that it rose by 476,000. “I can’t understand it myself," she confessed. "The employment report being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.”