Despite estimating only modest new payroll gains in September, the Department of Labor’s latest employment report was full of good news for the Obama administration and the broader economy. The unemployment rate plummeted, the household survey (which includes self-employed people) pointed to enormous gains, the workforce grew, as did the percentage of those people working or actively looking for work.
But though the report sent Obama supporters into spasms of relief and created a new breed of anti-Obama Department of Labor conspiracy theorists, it’s worth keeping in mind that the initial estimates often over or under estimate actual changes in the labor market.
That disappointing jobs report the day after the Democratic convention ended? The Bureau of Labor Statistics now thinks it undershot the true number of new payrolls by 40,000. If October’s figures are solid, and also suggest an upward revision to today’s number, we’ll have early indications of another fall-winter boomlet — days before the election.
The below graph compares BLS’ initial estimates of new payrolls each month for the last year with the first and second revisions to those estimates. For the past two months, the initial figures underestimated more accurate, future assessments of the employment situation.
Note, these figures do not reflect broader upward revisions BLS announced last month to job growth in 2011 and early 2012.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.