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Federal Officials Rebench Monthly Jobs Figures Each Year to Match Payroll Records. Each month, federal officials survey businesses in the state about their current payroll. These surveys are used to estimate how the total number of jobs in each state changes from month to month. Each March, federal officials correct (or "rebench") the monthly survey estimates to match actual payroll records collected from businesses each year. In most years, the annual correction is small and does not does materially affect our interpretation of the state's labor markets. One important exception is that revisions tend to be more meaningful during economic downturns, with monthly survey estimates often overstating the number of jobs. 

Recent Rebenching Shows State Added Far Fewer Jobs Than Originally Thought. The figure below compares the preliminary, monthly estimates of job growth between September 2022 and September 2023 to actual job growth as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this week. The actual job count in California is 1.5 percent lower than suggested by the preliminary monthly figures. The corrected data show that the state added just 50,000 jobs between September 2022 and September 2023. The monthly jobs report, which the administration and the Legisture relied on to gauge the economy during that period, showed the labor market growing steadily, appearing to add more than 300,000 jobs over that period. 

Downward Correction Concentrated in Higher Paying Industries. Recently released data show that the rebenching affected some industries more than others. That is, the survey sample overestimated job growth in some industries more than others. The figure below shows that Professional Services had the largest downward revision. This industry category, which includes law firms, accounting firms, engineering and technical firms, and management consulting firms, tends to employ high-wage earning workers. The monthly survey sample also underestimed job growth in healthcare and government. 

Monthly Household Survey of Employment Growth Has Been Tracking Revised Jobs Numbers More Closely. In addition to the monthly business survey, which historically has been used as the main gauge for job growth in the state, federal officials also interview a smaller sample of households about employment among workers in each household. The monthly unemployment rate statistics comes from this household survey. The monthly household survey has tracked the newly revised jobs figures more closely than the monthly business survey. The figure below compares preliminary, revised, and household survey job growth during 2023, with the monthly household survey tracking the newly revised jobs data more closely than preliminary estimates based on business surveys. 


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