Friday, October 08, 2010

Impact of estimated Benchmark Revision on Job Losses

by Bill McBride on 10/08/2010 03:05:00 PM

This morning I mentioned the annual benchmark revision for the employment report - here are some more details, and a graph showing the impact on job losses.

As part of the employment report, the BLS released the preliminary annual benchmark revision of minus 366,000 payroll jobs. This will be finalized next February when the January 2011 employment report is released. Usually the preliminary estimate is pretty close to the final benchmark estimate.

Percent Job Losses During RecessionsClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the impact of the preliminary benchmark revision on job losses in percentage terms from the start of the employment recession.

The red line on the graph is the current estimate, and the dotted line shows the impact of estimated coming benchmark revision. This puts the current payroll employment about 8.1 million jobs below the pre-recession peak in December 2007.

Using the preliminary benchmark estimate, this means that payroll employment in March 2010 was 366,000 lower than originally estimated. This is slightly larger than a normal adjustment (see table below). So in February 2011, the payroll numbers will be revised down to reflect this estimate. The number is then "wedged back" to the previous revision (March 2009).

For details on the benchmark revision process, see from the BLS: Methodology

"The benchmark adjustment, a standard part of the payroll survey estimation process, is a once-a-year re-anchoring of the sample-based employment estimates to full population counts available principally through unemployment insurance (UI) tax records filed by employers with State Employment Security Agencies."
The following table shows the benchmark revisions since 1979.

YearPercent differenceDifference in thousands
19790.5447
1980-0.1-63
1981-0.4-349
1982-0.1-113
1983*36
19840.4353
1985*-3
1986-0.5-467
1987*-35
1988-0.3-326
1989*47
1990-0.2-229
1991-0.6-640
1992-0.1-59
19930.2263
19940.7747
19950.5542
1996*57
19970.4431
1998*44
19990.2258
20000.4468
2001-0.1-123
2002-0.2-313
2003-0.2-122
20040.2203
2005-0.1-158
20060.6752
2007-0.2-293
2008-0.1-89
2009-0.7-902
2010-0.3-366 estimate


* less than 0.05%

Earlier employment posts today (with many graphs):
  • September Employment Report: 18K Jobs Lost ex-Census, 9.6% Unemployment Rate
  • Employment-Population Ratio, Part Time Workers, Unemployed over 26 Weeks
  • Unemployment by Level of Education and Employment Diffusion Indexes

  • Last 10 Posts