Revised Indicators Show Slower Growth

Sarah Vanderbilt | June 1, 2012, 2:05 p.m.
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Today's jobs report was met with widespread disappointment as the economy only added 69,000 jobs in May, the lowest figure in a year. But the bad news in today's report extended back further than the latest figure, as analysts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised their estimates of job growth for previous months.

Revisions to past releases of economic indicators are commonplace, but the direction they take can be revealing. The graph above shows four indicators from the last half of 2011 through the most current release. In every case, figures that showed promise for a stronger recovery have been scaled back through revisions.

On the jobs front, gains of 150,000 jobs in March were revised to 143,000, and the 115,000 jobs thought to have been added in April have now been revised down to 77,000. Including the even lower figure for May, that makes two months in a row with job growth below 100,000.

The advance forecast of growth in gross domestic product, released at the end of April, was 2.2 percent for the first quarter, but yesterday's revision took it down to 1.9 percent (the third and final estimate will be released at the end of this month). Similar trends can be seen in the personal income and savings figures released today, which included significant revisions back to October of last year.

To explore interactive historical data for these and other economic indicators, visit CQ Economy Tracker.