Understanding Estimates and Revisions in Regional Jobs Data
Since 2017, the St. Louis Fed has produced its own quarterly estimates of regional employment growth to stay closer in step with the pace of job growth than the Bureau of Labor Statistics' annual revisions to its state and local numbers. Fed researchers Charles Gascon and Paul Morris warn in a recent issue of the Regional Economist that analyzing initially reported employment data can lead to incorrect conclusions when significant revisions occur, so keeping a close eye on local trends is important.
Both the Fed and the BLS use the same quarterly data to produce their revisions. The St. Louis Fed's updated estimates look at jobs trends in the 8th District overall, six of its seven states, and its four largest metro areas: St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville, and Memphis. Since the debut of these quarterly estimates, the St. Louis Fed's numbers have been consistently closer to the final numbers than the official initial estimates, making them useful to people in the region who need more timely data.
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