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America has half a million fewer jobs than first thought



The US labor market is not as strong as initially thought, according to new figures published Wednesday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes monthly employment statistics, but once a year the estimates for these figures are checked and revised, known as the "reference version." The number, which is considered more accurate, is based on data from the state unemployment tax register.

However, this year's preliminary data contained bad news for the economy: Employers added 501,000 fewer jobs than first estimated from March 2019. It is the largest audit in nearly a decade.

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About two-thirds of downward revisions came from retail, which had 1

46,400 fewer jobs, and the leisure and hospitality industries, which had 175,000 fewer workers. However, other industries also reported a decline in employment. Production, construction and mining and harvesting have also lowered their estimates.

The updated data means that the average increase of 223,000 monthly positions in 2018 – the best since 2015 and often singled out by President Trump as evidence that his administration's policies are helping the economy – dropped to about 181,000.

Although not as robust, it still shows that job creation is expanding at a steady rate.

The Labor Department will update these revisions in February 2020.


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