In June through September, the U.S. labor department under-reported the number of filled jobs in the economy by 626,000, an average of 156,500 per month and the largest under-estimate on record for any four-month stretch.
After July posted 943,000 new jobs, August’s report found the economy had created only 235,000, which was seen as a major stumble in the economic recovery.
The revised August number is now 483,000 jobs, more than twice as many as first reported, although still barely half of July’s figure.
September’s initial estimate of 194,000 new jobs has been revised to 312,000, still modest but better.
Pre-COVID under-estimates tended to be about 30,000 per month, the labor department said.
The department’s estimates are based on responses to a monthly survey sent to about 697,000 U.S. businesses.
In this case, businesses dealing with the chaos caused by the COVID War were slow to send back labor department questionnaires about their number of jobs, according to comments from a labor department official quoted by The Washington Post.
The department’s unemployment estimates are not finalized until they have been revised twice, the WP said. The second revision now has included surveys filed late.
One reason for the wrong number: employers who were hiring the most were busy settling their employees into their jobs and getting their businesses back up and running and lacked the time to fill out a government form by a deadline, according to Jane Oates, president of the nonprofit WorkingNation and a labor department official in the Obama administration.
In pre-COVID times, about 60 percent of companies completed and returned the labor department’s monthly employment survey, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
By May 2021, that number had fallen to 49 percent.
When such a large number of companies fail to respond, as they did during the COVID War, the bureau’s technical models try to fill in the gaps based on past history and trends seen among the surveys that were filed.
The largest misses tend to appear during chaotic economic times, Oates said.
“People think, ‘Oh, they got it wrong the first time’,” Angie Clinton, the bureau’s head of payroll estimates, said to the WP.
“But we got it right, based on what the [survey responses] told us.”
Over time, “we receive more [surveys], some corrected records, and recalculate seasonal factors, which together may indicate a different story,” she said.
TREND FORECAST: The number of workers reabsorbed into the economy will hit a ceiling as skilled and unskilled workers find their places and economic growth begins to decline.
On a broader consumer note, there were ongoing reports that there would be severe shortages of holiday foods and gifts due to supply chain delays and lack of workers. On the retail end we forecast the shortages are, and will be, minor.