The BLS Employment Stats Annual Revision just knocked off 501,000 payroll jobs but don't look for it in the reported numbers.

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 two-tenths of one percent of total nonfarm employment. The preliminary estimate of the benchmark revision indicates a downward adjustment to March 2019 total nonfarm employment of -501,000 (-0.3 percent).

Preliminary benchmark revisions are calculated only for the month of March 2019 for the major industry sectors in table 1. The existing employment series are not updated with the release of the preliminary benchmark estimate. The data for all CES series will be updated when the final benchmark revision is issued.

Wait Until 2020 for Revision to Show Up

This revision, a large one, will not show up in reported numbers until February 2020 with the publication of the January 2020 Employment Situation news release.


Major Reductions

  • Total: 501,000
  • Private: 514,000
  • Retail Trade: 146,000
  • Professional and Business Services: 163,000
  • Leisure and Hospitality: 175,000

The largest upward revision was transportation and warehousing at +79,000 jobs.

For 10 years, revisions were in the range of +- 0.2%. This revision was 50% above the absolute value 10-year average, and negative.

In general, the jobs reports looked too good to be true, and they were too good to be true.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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