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Revisions to US labor market data and the public’s perception of the economy

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  • Abo-Zaid, Salem

Abstract

Using the monthly “Employment Situation” reports for 1994–2013, this paper studies the revisions to US employment data. The paper shows that the first press release underestimates net job creation in expansions and overestimates it in downturns. The “errors” in reporting the data on the labor market can distort the public’s perception about the stance of the labor market and have some political consequences. This is well reflected by the finding that the job approval rating of President Obama, the index of consumer confidence, and the economic conditions index of Gallup have all been responding to the initial news on the US labor market as they were published in the Employment Situation reports.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165176513005004
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 122 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 119-124

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:122:y:2014:i:2:p:119-124

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolet

Related research

Keywords: US net job creation; US unemployment rate; Employment Situation report; Revisions to employment data; Public’s perception;

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References

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  1. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John Haltiwanger, 2006. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets: New Data Sources and Micro-Macro Links," NBER Working Papers 12167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fox, Gerald & Phillips, Earl N., 2003. "Interrelationship between presidential approval, presidential votes and macroeconomic performance, 1948-2000," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 411-424, September.
  3. Bouwman, Kees E. & Jacobs, Jan P.A.M., 2005. "Forecasting with real-time macroeconomic data: the ragged-edge problem and revisions," CCSO Working Papers 200505, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
  4. Aruoba, Boragan, 2005. "Data Revisions Are Not Well-Behaved," CEPR Discussion Papers 5271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2012. "The Contribution of Large and Small Employers to Job Creation in Times of High and Low Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2509-39, October.
  6. David E. Runkle, 1998. "Revisionist history: how data revisions distort economic policy research," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 3-12.
  7. Fox, Gerald T., 2012. "Macroeconomic time consistency and wartime presidential approval," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 891-902.
  8. Franses, Philip Hans, 2013. "Data revisions and periodic properties of macroeconomic data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 139-141.
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