We always like to highlight an aspect of the jobs report that doesn’t get talked about much: The revisions.The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +100,000 to +157,000, and the change for December was revised from +200,000 to +203,000. Monthly revisions result from additional sample reports and the monthly recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process also contributed to these revisions.
Why is this important?
Well, for two reasons.
One is just the headline: More jobs is good.
But also, revisions are important for what they tell us about where we are in the cycle. Because initial reports are based on some combination of survey and model, the BLS has to extrapolate the “real” number in part based on cyclical trends. If past reports keep getting revised up, it means the BLS is still behind the curve in measuring how fast the economy is growing.