On the first Friday of every month the Labor Department issues its report on payrolls in the month that just ended. That month’s report is then revised twice in the following two months. By paying attention to those revisions one gets a much more complete picture of what’s happening in the economy. Historically, upward revisions have been a sign that a recovery is becoming more stable. The consistent upward revisions so evident in the table above suggest this is happening again.
From November 2010 through September 2011, the first report on payrolls each month has averaged 102,000. By contrast, the third report has averaged 134,000. Revisions for both August and September have made a world of difference. August payrolls were originally reported unchanged. Literally, zero net jobs in August. In the next two months, though, this was revised to a perfectly acceptable 104,000. September, which was originally reported 103,000 has since been revised to a strong 210,000. October has already been revised up from an original report of 80,000 to 100,000, with one more revision to go.