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