Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Employment: Preliminary annual benchmark revision shows downward adjustment of 150,000 jobs

by Bill McBride on 9/07/2016 10:15:00 AM

The BLS released the preliminary annual benchmark revision showing 150,000 fewer payroll jobs as of March 2016. The final revision will be published when the January 2017 employment report is released in February 2017. Usually the preliminary estimate is pretty close to the final benchmark estimate.

The annual revision is benchmarked to state tax records. From the BLS:

In accordance with usual practice, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is announcing the preliminary estimate of the upcoming annual benchmark revision to the establishment survey employment series. The final benchmark revision will be issued on February 3, 2017, with the publication of the January 2017 Employment Situation news release.

Each year, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey employment estimates are benchmarked to comprehensive counts of employment for the month of March. These counts are derived from state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records that nearly all employers are required to file. For national CES employment series, the annual benchmark revisions over the last 10 years have averaged plus or minus three-tenths of one percent of total nonfarm employment. The preliminary estimate of the benchmark revision indicates a downward adjustment to March 2016 total nonfarm employment of -150,000 (-0.1 percent). ...
Using the preliminary benchmark estimate, this means that payroll employment in March 2016 was 150,000 lower than originally estimated. In February 2017, the payroll numbers will be revised down to reflect the final estimate. The number is then "wedged back" to the previous revision (March 2015).

Construction was revised up by 40,000 jobs, and manufacturing revised up by 51,000 jobs.  The key downward revisions were for retail trade of -120,000, Professional and business services of -133,000 and education and health of -98,000.

This preliminary estimate showed 224,000 fewer private sector jobs, and 74,000 additional government jobs (as of March 2016).