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Initial US employment reports overstated by 439,000 jobs in 2023

Increased government spending and hiring have padded 2023 year-end unemployment numbers by over 400,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There’s something wrong with previous U.S. jobs reports.

The government quietly erased 439,000 jobs through November 2023, a closer look at the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows. 

That means its initial jobs results were inflated by 439,000 positions, and the job market is not as healthy as the government suggests. 

Since the government wiped out 439,000 jobs after the fact, the total percentage of jobs created by the government last year is even higher. Increased government hiring has been driving the jobs numbers higher.


This matters because U.S. jobs reports move the markets and U.S. Treasury yields. Plus, they are a significant factor in the Federal Reserve’s decisions about the path of interest rate hikes and cuts. All that affects U.S. consumers’ pocketbooks. 

"Time to stop trading off the payroll data," tweeted David Rosenberg, founder of Rosenberg Research Associates. By his calculations, he says the downward revisions came to "an epic 443,000," adding, "more than 40% of payroll growth in 2023" came from "the fairy tale ‘Birth-Death’ model" the BLS uses to "guesstimate" its jobs reports.

Again, the government sector in December ranked high in job creation. It created 52,000 jobs in the final month of 2023. As FOX Business's Edward Lawrence points out, that brings the three-month average of jobs created by the government sector to 50,000 per month. Lawrence says Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su "would not answer if this is sustainable when I pressed her."


The health care and social assistance sector, which relies heavily on money from government spending, created about 59,000 jobs.

The problem of overstated jobs numbers is not a new one.

In August 2023, the BLS issued a preliminary revision for the 12 months through March 2023 showing U.S. job growth for that period was overstated by a net 306,000 jobs. That’s 25,500 fewer jobs on average per month in that period. 

Private sector job creation also was adjusted lower by 358,000 in that period, while government payrolls were revised by an increase of 52,000.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank in December 2022 also raised eyebrows when its algorithms predicted the BLS had overreported jobs growth by 1.1 million in the second quarter of that year.

The president, too, has been accused of taking too much credit for the job numbers. He claimed he created 13 million to 14 million jobs. But economists and market analysts have pointed out those were jobs the U.S. economy clawed back after pandemic shutdowns erased 22 million jobs. 

In reality, the economy under President Biden "added back" all the jobs lost in the pandemic and has "created" 4.86 million jobs since February 2020. That’s a ho-hum result.

Plus, the economy "added back" all the manufacturing jobs lost in the pandemic and "created" 201,000 manufacturing jobs. Just 6,000 were created in December 2023.

Manufacturing jobs are highly important. They create a halo effect for other sectors, be it in the service industry or health care. The manufacturing sector has been in contraction for 14 straight months.

Today, U.S. labor force participation is at a historically low 62.5%. 

As Edward Lawrence reports, the December jobs report shows 683,000 workers dropped out of the labor force. A record high 8.69 million people now hold multiple jobs to make ends meet. The economy lost 1.5 million full-time workers since June of last year, while adding 796,000 part-time workers.


That means more workers are holding down multiple jobs to pay for a higher cost of living due to a cumulative 17.4% inflation rate under this White House.

That’s not a good sign.

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