Labor Department Finds U.S. Economy 386,000 Jobs Stronger

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Lynne Sladky / AP

Job applicants wait for the opening of a job fair held by National Career Fairs in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sept. 17, 2012.

The Labor Department is constantly refining its estimation of the U.S. Labor Market as new data comes in. Each month, when it releases its employment situation report, it also issues revisions of the previous two months’ jobs reports. Once a year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revises the total employment number, using additional data derived from unemployment insurance records that employers are required keep on record.

Today the Department announced the initial results of this yearly “benchmark revision” saying that from the period of April 2011 to March 2012, the American economy added 386,000 more jobs than we had previously thought. This is a net figure, which includes a loss of 67,000 government jobs, so the total upwards revision for private sector jobs was 453,000.

What is the effect of this news? These numbers aren’t really showing us anything about the current trajectory of the economy, since they represent job growth that occurred anywhere between six to 18 months ago. If anything, it serves to reinforce the reality that the Labor Department’s monthly estimate of job growth is very imprecise. Each month, when the BLS releases its approximation of job growth, the margin of error is 100,000 — a huge number when you’re talking about an economy that has been adding roughly that number of jobs every month. For instance, when September’s report showed that the economy added 96,000 new jobs, what it was really saying was that it was 90% sure that the economy produced anywhere between a loss of 4,000 jobs and a gain of 196,000.

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What the number does do is strengthen our understanding of some of the dynamics in the economy. One puzzling aspect of Employment Situation Reports over the past year or so is that the unemployment rate has fallen disproportionately to the number of jobs added each month. This can happen because these two figures are actually derived from different sets of data, so they don’t move in tandem. While one culprit was certainly a large number of people leaving the workforce entirely, it appears now that more of it was due to actual job growth than previously thought.

Of course, many will use these new data for political purposes. One benefit for the Obama Administration — as pointed out this afternoon on CNNMoney — is that the President can now say that there are more total jobs in the American economy than the day he took office. What help this will be as President Obama tries to convince voters to return him to office for another four years is hard to say. It wasn’t fair to blame the President for the staggering job losses we were experiencing in the first months of his presidency anyway. That said, it does provide a concise and repeatable talking point — something vote-hungry pols never have enough of.

But don’t worry Romney supporters! You still have plenty of depressing statistics to lambaste the current administration with. Unemployment is still far too high, and economic growth frustratingly slow. The Commerce Department was out with a revision of its own this morning showing that the U.S. economy grew at an even more sluggish pace during the months of April, May and June than it had previously reported. GDP growth for the second quarter was revised down to 1.3% from an initially-announced 1.7%.

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josephmateus
josephmateus

Mr. Christopher Mateus (Matthews), your magazine has repeatedly stated here that in order for the economy to create sufficient permanent jobs in order to lower unemployment, more than 20o.000 jobs have to be created every month. In fact your magazine blasted the economy for only having created 68.000 jobs last month.

Now you come up with this Snow White amp; Seven Dwarfs nice story making it look that the number of jobs created between April 2011 and March 2012 was actually 386.000 more than previously thought. How convenient as we approached the federal election on November 06.....!!!!!!!!!! Don't you understand that the Darn Labor department is fabricating this numbers in order to better the Obama regime reelection prospects? Heck even a idiot can see this! The reality is that the Labor Department is talking through both sides of its mouth lying through their teeth beefing up the job numbers on order to get their boss reelected and they can keep their jobs. There was no extra 386.000 jobs created between April 2011 and March 2012 ! If This were true, they would have told us sooner, not now so close to the November 06 2012 election.

The question is Mr. Mateus, how much did the Obama Labor Department paid you to write this shameless political pandering garbage? Boy the Obama regime must be really desperate to get reelected and resort to hire idiots like you to write blatant lies in this magazine.

R1979Y
R1979Y

I am confused, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Feb 2009, there was 141.7 million people employed in American and in July 2012 there was only 132.5 million still with jobs. i.e. there are 9.2 million fewer people working today then there was 3 years ago and this does not even factor in the 4.5 million new people who have entered the workforce in 2009.

So if the number of people in the workforce has been growing and the number of people working today is significantly fewer then 3.5 years ago, how can anyone say that we have "gained" jobs.

Hoop Ojoop
Hoop Ojoop

 If you had a tingle up your leg, it would make sense.

1adfk2
1adfk2

Mittens is done no matter what the stats say. No candidate has had less clarity and commitment on what he stands for. The King of FlipFlopers.

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

We have Romney on video essentially acting out the worst caricature of himself by speaking with undisguised disdain about nearly half the country — the less privileged half. As Jonathan Chait put it recently, Romney played the part of the “sneering plutocrat” who “put himself forward as the hopeful president of the top half of America against the bottom.” This, exactly at the moment when Romney is fighting perceptions that his policies are skewed in favor of the rich, and undecided voters are making their final choice about which candidate can truly be trusted to guard their interests. - Wash. Post

GO614
GO614

Counter that to the President, I repeat, the President, not the candidate for President, not the President hopeful, but the one who already holds that office deciding that it is far more important to proceed with a campaign event in Vegas within 24 hours of a U.S. Ambassador, two Navy seals, and one U.S. citizen being murdered in a terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Libya.  The same President who feels it is far more important to continue with campaign events with JayZ and Beyonce within days of the terrorist attack.  The same President who tweets out messages to his supporters to purchase Obama apparel within minutes of his arrival to receive the bodies of the four murdered terrorist victims at Andrews Air Force Base.  The same President who feels it's far more advantageous for him to go on the TV show "The View" instead of meeting with any of the World leaders while they are already here in the U.S. during the United Nations assembly; and this is also after protesting has escalated and continued throughout the Middle East outside our embassies and our U.S. flag is burned.  The same President, who has barely said a word to the citizens of U.S. about the events occurring in the Middle East and just continues to campaign.  Of course that could be because we're learning more and more every day that this same President along with Ambassador Rice and the rest of his administration have lied to us on the small amount of information they did tell us.  This President is a disgrace!  Although you may believe Mitt Romney was discarding 47% of Americans with his comment, and I disagree but I'm sure I can't change your mind, I counter that the President, the one who already holds the office, shows a total disdain for 100% of us with his recent behavior unless it comes to needing our vote.  Obama has clearly shown there is only one thing that matters to Barack Obama and it's certainly not us, it is Barack Obama and he'll say and do, or NOT SAY whatever he has to to get re-elected and retain power.  I'll take Romney.

Filipos P
Filipos P

Romney = Obama.  Romnobamney.  

Clarence Swinney
Clarence Swinney

 EFFECTIVE TAX RATE BY PRESIDENT

rounded

Nixon----6.%

Bush II--19

Clinton--20

Obama--26

Bush I--27

Carter--31

Reagan--32

Ford----38

Romney----14