Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Revised St. Louis employment numbers

The BLS released its annual benchmark revisions of state and local employment today. Over at stldata.org I have been providing my own benchmark revisions for St. Louis since September.  Most of the official data will be revised again in a year, so we don't know yet exactly how the local economy performed last year.  I can still say, however, that I have been closer to the new data than the BLS had been. 

(Dave Nicklaus has a nice summary of the data and my views on it.)

As of January, the BLS was estimating that St. Louis had a net growth of 2,500 jobs in 2011.  Most of that was in the first half of the year, with huge losses coming in the second half.

In early February I had estimated a net loss of 1,600 jobs for 2011, with huge losses during the second half because my estimates were necessarily the same as the BLS's for that period.

According to the BLS's new estimates, there was a net loss of 3,900 jobs last year, so I had the right sign and was off by a relatively modest amount (pretty close to the expected error of 2,000 or so).  Even so, I think that the huge loss of 9,600 jobs that the BLS says occurred between April and December last year will be revised away in the future. Keep an eye out for my new data release at the end of March, when I provide my benchmark revision in response to new data from the QCEW covering the third quarter of 2011.