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Thursday, September 27, 2012

386,000 More Jobs Than We Thought!

Job Growth Better Than Previously Reported...

The BLS released its preliminary adjustments to jobs numbers (benchmarks) today.  According to the CES (Current Employment Statistics) Preliminary Benchmark Announcement, we now have at least 386,000 more jobs than we thought we had through March 2012.  Unfortunately, due to the way the BLS works with these adjustments, it appears that the number of jobs won't be officially modified until January 2013, after the election.

Sample Surveys vs. Numbers Reported by Employers on Tax Records

The monthly jobs numbers are based on a "survey sample" of employers throughout the U.S.  The sample survey is used because complete data, based on the unemployment tax forms that employers are required to submit quarterly, is not available until about six months after that quarter closes.  As a result, the samples may be overestimated or underestimated. 

In an economy that is adding jobs, such as the economy we've had for the past two years, jobs numbers are more than likely UNDERestimated.  Last year's samples were revised upwards by 162,000 jobs.  In an economy that is shedding jobs, such as our economy in 2008 and 2009, the samples are more likely OVERestimating jobs.  We actually lost 902,000 more jobs in 2009 than we thought we did at the time.

This is a big increase.

The additional 386,000 jobs this year is a really large number.  It means that we added  an average of an additional 32,000 jobs every month in that 12 month period than we thought we did.  The undercount in private jobs was even greater; it appears that we added at least 453,000 more jobs than we thought we did for the period from March 2011 through March 2012.  That's an undercount of about 38,000 private jobs a month.  This is the biggest upward benchmark revision since 2006, and the 6th highest revision in the past twenty years.    

The implications are significant:  
  • 4.4 million MORE jobs in total since the "trough" of the recession.
  • 5.1 million MORE private sector jobs since the "trough" of the recession.
  • Since Obama took office, there are 125,000 MORE jobs in total.  This is the first time that there are more jobs now than when Obama took office.
  • Since Obama took office, there are 868,000 MORE private sector jobs.

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