Another Downward Revision: BLS Confirms US Payrolls At Least 306,000 Lower Than Previously Reported

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Aug 23, 2023 - 04:05 PM

This morning, we said that in a year that has seen every monthly payrolls report revised lower...

... which is hardly a fluke since under Biden, every single data point ends up being revised lower eventually, with today's new home sales getting the same treatment and every month's new home sales data was also revised lower...

... the last pillar of Bidenomics was about to be revised away even more, as the BLS confirmed what we have been saying for much of the past year, namely that hundreds of thousands of US jobs were nothing more than a figment in the BLS's imagination, and politically motivated excel spreadsheets.

That's precisely what happened when according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary benchmark revision projection published this morning, US job growth was far less robust in the year through March than previously reported, and according to the BLS the number of workers on payrolls will be revised down by at least 306,000, and likely much more when the final revisions take place in early 2024.

The revision results from a comparison between reported nonfarm payrolls and a (near) universe count of employment from unemployment insurance records. In last year’s benchmark revision, the BLS revised up nonfarm payrolls by 506k.

The BLS table below shows the March 2023 preliminary benchmark revisions by major industry sector. While the preliminary benchmark revisions are calculated only for the month of March 2023 for major industry sectors, the data for all CES series will be updated when the final benchmark revision is issued.

The background, for those who missed it: once a year, the BLS benchmarks the March payrolls level to a more accurate but less timely data source called the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) that’s based on state unemployment insurance tax records and covers nearly all US jobs. When the March payrolls figures are aligned to that count, the change is proportionally distributed across the year ended in March. First-quarter QCEW figures were also released Wednesday.

QCEW is used as the benchmark because it is a more comprehensive count of jobs than NFP. It aims at a complete count of all 11 million establishments/workplaces in the US and has a 90%+ response rate, compared to 660k establishments surveyed by NFP with a 43% response rate.

While the preliminary downward adjustment was smaller than some economists expected - of note, Std Chartered's Steven Englander had expected at least 650,000 jobs to be revised out - keep in mind this is only the first revision; the final revision - which is incorporated into the data series with the release of the January jobs report in February 2024 - and in keeping with the Biden admin's stealthy downward revisions, expect at least another 300K or so jobs to magically disappear from the total, which will "gradually" come down to the cumulative household survey which remains about 1 million lower than the market-moving, if extremely inaccurate and politically sensitive, establishment survey.

By then, however, nobody will care since US payrolls in early 2024 will have slumped deep into negative territory and the Fed will be in full-blown freakout/easing/QE mode.