Updated: New York, Oct 02 14:45
U.S. Job Losses May Be Even Larger as Labor’s Model Breaks Down
By Carlos Torres
Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. economic slump earlier this year was so severe it short-circuited the government’s model for calculating payrolls, raising the risk that today’s jobs report may be too optimistic.
About 824,000 more jobs may be subtracted from the payroll count for the 12 months through last March when the figures are officially revised early next year, a Labor Department report showed today. The revision would be the biggest since the government started adjusting the numbers in 1991.
The bulk of the miss occurred in the calculations for the first quarter of this year, the Labor Department said. The economy shrank at a 6.4 percent annual pace in the first three months of 2009, the worst performance since 1982.
The figures raise the possibility that the government’s calculations continue to miss the mark.
“We are probably still underestimating job losses,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. “There could be another 30,000 to 40,000” that the data isn’t picking up.
That would mean the loss of jobs for September could turn out to be as high as 300,000, rather than the 263,000 reported today by the Labor Department. Today’s report also showed the jobless rate climbed to 9.8 percent last month, a 26-year high.
The potential revision for the year through last March would mean that the economy lost 5.6 million jobs for the period instead of the 4.8 million now on the books.