Labor Secretary Marty Walsh argued on Friday that even though the benchmark had been revised, the January numbers of jobs rose by 467,000, a very transparent number, which is part of the reason why growth blew past expectations, as part of the department's monthly payroll report.
Walsh said that the Labor Department didn't change the way we collect our data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the BLS, is a gold standard for bringing in these statistics, he told host Stuart Varney. It's been used in this country for decades. This is a very transparent number. The Labor Department said in its monthly payroll report released Friday that payrolls in January easily beat the 150,000 jobs gain forecast by Refinitiv economists and that the gains spread across industries. The unemployment rate, which was calculated based on a separate survey, went up slightly to 4%.
The surprise gain comes after the Biden administration publicly bracing for a dismal report that officials warned could show the economy actually lost jobs last month amid a surge in omicron cases. The seven-day moving average fell to 596,860, down 20% from the previous week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Economists believe that job growth will climb even higher in the coming months, as omicron cases continue to fall.
Businesses are eager to bring on new employees and raise wages in order to attract workers as they face a labor shortage. There are approximately 10.9 million open jobs, a near-record while the pace of layoffs has moderated.
Friday's payroll report showed a brighter employment picture in 2021, with major upward revisions to the jobs figure in December 510,000, up from the initially reported 199,000 and November 647,000, up from the initial reports of 249,000 FOX Business Edward Lawrence, who reported that the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised their benchmark month to March, which changed the number of jobs added for every month after that, and also boosted the number for January.
Lawrence reported that the benchmark month was revised based on the actual employment count and that the bureau also revised seasonal adjustment factors, which changed the data as well, according to a BLS spokesperson.
Lawrence also noted that the bureau has been doing revisions for a long time, specifically more than 10 years, according to the BLS.
A BLS spokeswoman said the issue is that the computer model has trouble with big external events like a Pandemic, and that is why the agency goes back to the actual employment count to make revisions for the previous year.
The government's model used to strip out seasonal fluctuations from the data accounts in January and adding 3 million jobs to produce the seasonally-adjusted figure may have reflected low layoffs after the holiday hiring season, according to a report by Reuters.
Walsh stressed that Friday's payrolls in January were rising by 467,000, which is a good sign, but there was some concern as the month went on in the previous month because of the omicron variant. He also stressed that the US is in a very different position than in March, April, May and June of 2020, as a result of a Pandemic. He said that businesses, we re seeing employees, we re seeing people learning to live and move on with their lives.
Walsh pointed out the year revision of 700,000 jobts jumped out at me. I asked the bureau, Why is such a big revision? He said that was statistically that's what they said to me over the last 10 years. There is no statistically different adjustment that we haven't seen in previous years. According to the BLS, the unemployment rate was only 5% higher in January compared to before the outbreak of the coronaviruses, noting that the unemployment rate was 3.5% in February 2020 compared to 4% in January of this year.