The Jobs Numbers Say 'Blech!'

The headlines seem pretty good. Unemployment fell a tick to 7.3 percent. And jobs growth continued, with payrolls expanding by 169,000 in August, which is just shy of the 175,000 new jobs that analysts were expecting.

But beneath the headline: blech!

The most important news was the revisions to what we had previously thought was a healthy and perhaps self-sustaining recovery. Instead, jobs growth in July was revised from 162,000, to a weak 104,000, and June was also revised downward. Taken together, this month's revisions means we've created 74,000 fewer jobs than previously believed. And the previous jobs report subtracted another 26,000 jobs through revisions. Moreover, for reasons that remain a mystery, revisions have tended to be pro-cyclical, meaning that the healthy recovery we thought we were having might have been expected to yield further upward revisions. All this means that analysts are hastily revising their views.

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