AbstractLabor market bean counters in Washington have been working furiously to complete their annual revision of the nation’s monthly employment counts. These revisions adjust all of the monthly job tabulations of the last two years, providing a more accurate picture of the nation’s economy. Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results, and they are not pretty. It turns out that jobs were being lost faster than they could be counted. Before the revision, the United States was thought to have lost 7.3 million private-sector jobs in the two years between December 2007, the start of the Great Recession, and December 2009. With the benchmark revisions indicating an additional decline of 1.2 million jobs, the total private-sector employment loss is now 8.5 million jobs, or about 16 percent higher than initially estimated. The absolute scale of America’s great labor market contraction is simply unprecedented in our lifetimes. The results are depicted in the chart below, and the latest picture of the Great Recession becomes clearer—and uglier.
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