Today’s jobs report was weak across the board: September payrolls fell by 263,000, the unemployment rate rose to 9.8%, the underemployment rate (U-6) rose to 17.0%, and average weekly hours fell to 33.0, tying the record low set in June.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that payrolls declined by 13,000 more in July and August than it had previously estimated.
And if that weren’t enough, BLS also estimates the number of jobs back in March was actually 824,000 lower than previously reported (this is an estimate of the “benchmark revision” that BLS will make to the data early next year).
Putting these figures together, we find that the number of jobs has now declined by 1.1 million (263,000 + 13,000 + 824,000) more than we previously knew.
I have always found it frustrating that the BLS reports an estimate of the benchmark revision each October, but doesn’t incorporate that revision until the following February. That means that many analysts will be using incorrect data over the next few months.
If you want to know the number of jobs lost during the recession, for example, you might think you could get that number by clicking over to the BLS and comparing the number of jobs in September 2009 to the number of jobs in December 2007. That comparison would show total job losses of 7.2 million. Based on today’s estimate of the benchmark revision, however, it’s likely that the actual figure is more than 8.0 million.
Update: The original post had a typo for the average weekly hours; as noted above, the correct figure is 33.0, not 30.0.