US job growth is likely lower than official estimates

New Labor Department data shows a downward revision of more than 500,000 jobs in the year through March.

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    One economist says the revisions by the United States Department of Labor point to a tight labor market - and indicate how much difficulty 'firms are said to be having finding qualified workers' [David Paul Morris/Bloomberg]
    One economist says the revisions by the United States Department of Labor point to a tight labor market - and indicate how much difficulty 'firms are said to be having finding qualified workers' [David Paul Morris/Bloomberg]

    U.S. job growth was probably less robust in the year through March, according to government data released Wednesday.

    The number of workers added to payrolls will probably be revised down by 501,000 during the period, or almost 42,000 a month, the Labor Department said in preliminary benchmark projections for final revisions due next year.

    Average monthly job gains last year "seemed too good to be true in light of how tight the labor market has become and how much trouble firms are said to be having finding qualified workers," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC, in a note to clients Wednesday.

    Labor revised down leisure and hospitality payrolls by 175,000 and business services by 163,000. Retail employment was revised down by 146,400.

    Prelim. benchmark revisions of US Payrolls/Source: BBG, Bureau of Labor Stattics

    Employment gains averaged 223,000 a month last year, the most since 2015. The final annual benchmark revisions to payrolls will be issued with the January employment data released in February 2020. The Labor Department uses records from state jobless benefit tax records to benchmark its employment data.

    SOURCE: Bloomberg