Fewer jobs created than first reported

Mitchell Hartman Dec 6, 2019
HTML EMBED:
COPY
The annual benchmark revision shows that fewer jobs were created than previously thought. David McNew/Getty Images

Fewer jobs created than first reported

Mitchell Hartman Dec 6, 2019
The annual benchmark revision shows that fewer jobs were created than previously thought. David McNew/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Labor Department’s latest “annual benchmark revisions” show that the labor market isn’t as strong as previously believed.

Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates how many jobs the economy added or subtracted based on a representative sample of 689,000 employer work sites.

But there are around nine million employer establishments nationwide. So BLS checks its estimates against tax records covering nearly all those employers.

In its preliminary report this year, 500,000 fewer jobs turned up, said BLS economist John Stewart.

“By comparison, since 1979, a downward revision of 501,000 would be the third-largest that we’ve seen,” Stewart said.

Betsey Stevenson, a University of Michigan economist, said it’s a sign the labor market is weaker than we thought.

“It’s possible that when you see a particularly large negative number, it signals that the economy is at a turning point,” she said.

There were also big downward revisions in 1981, 1991 and 2009, all of which coincided with recessions.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.