Government missed 386,000 new jobs

Observers say jobless picture might be less bleak than projected

WASHINGTON — The government went back over its numbers and found something missing — nearly 400,000 new jobs.

In its annual revision to its employment data, the Labor Department said Thursday that 386,000 more jobs were created in the year ending in March than it originally had reported. The revision is a preliminary estimate, with a final figure coming in February.

The revision "calls into question just how grave of a concern the labor market is" for the Federal Reserve, which announced a new round of stimulus this month, said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

"Maybe things are better than we think," he said, noting that the figures meant the economy added an average of more than 30,000 jobs each month during that period than initially thought.

The new data, culled from state unemployment insurance tax records, showed the economy added 453,000 additional private sector jobs. But government jobs dropped 67,000 more than originally reported.

The result is there were 133.25 million people employed in nonfarm jobs at the end of March instead of 132.86 million, or about 0.3 percent more than originally thought. That's within the standard range for revisions, the Labor Department said. Over the past 10 years, the so-called annual benchmark revision has been plus or minus 0.3 percent of the workforce.

The biggest jobs gains were 145,000 in trade, transportation and utilities, 99,000 in leisure and hospitality, and 85,000 in construction. Manufacturing produced 25,000 fewer jobs than originally reported.


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