Federal data is fluid and frequently subject to change as more detailed and accurate information becomes readily available. Today’s headline jobs number — that surprising 336,000 net job gain — is an initial estimate that will be revised twice more.
Approaching Friday, economists told CNN they would be closely watching how the latest revisions would shake out, because every monthly job gain during the first half of the year was ultimately revised downward (a cumulative difference of 325,000 jobs), Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.
“Many are interpreting this streak of downward revisions as a sign that we could be at an inflection point and that the labor market could be weakening even more rapidly than the official data suggests,” Julia Pollak, senior economist at ZipRecruiter, told CNN earlier this week.
The surprising September jobs report, however, didn’t continue that streak. July’s monthly gains (initially revised down by 30,000 jobs) saw an upward bump of 79,000 jobs this time around to bring the monthly gain to 236,000 positions. August’s second look has job growth now at 227,000 for the month, an increase of 40,000.
Still, she added, those latest revisions as well as the September surge do align with other recent economic data points, specifically strong consumer spending.
“The data is hard to capture, because the economy is moving much more rapidly,” Diane Swonk, KPMG’s chief economist, said in an interview with CNN Friday. “I talk to [executives] all the time, and one of the hardest issues they say about the post-pandemic economy is just how rapidly things shift.”
That’s the economy we’re in, she said, and it requires more agility.
“But at the end of the day, it’s still more resilient,” she said. “It’s remarkably resilient. And that’s a wonderful thing.”