Job growth stronger in year to March than first thought

WASHINGTON Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:02am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy likely created 386,000 more jobs in the 12 months through March than previously estimated, the Labor Department said on Thursday in a preliminary estimate of its annual "benchmark" revision to closely watched payrolls data.

Once a year, the department compares its non-farm payroll data, based on monthly surveys of a sample of employers, with a much more complete database of unemployment insurance tax reports.

It said its latest comparison suggests the level of employment in March was 0.3 percent higher than it had previously stated.

A final benchmark revision will be released in February along with the department's report on employment in January. Government statisticians will use the final benchmark count to revise payroll data for months both prior to and after March.

A breakdown by industry sector showed 453,000 more total private sector jobs were created than initially thought, including 145,000 more jobs in the trade, transportation, and utilities category, plus 85,000 more in construction.

In contrast, the benchmark revision lowered the estimate for job creation in the government sector by 65,000, while it found that 25,000 fewer manufacturing jobs had been generated over the 12 month period than previously thought.

(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

(tim.ahmann@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 898-8370; Reuters Messaging: tim.ahmann.reuters.com@reuters.net)

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