Were more jobs lost in the recession than we thought?

02/03/2010 10:30 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

Watch out for some nasty revisions in the employment numbers due out on Friday.

The data release will include a revision of numbers stretching back into 2009 that’s likely to show bigger job losses during the recession than previously calculated.

Paul Dales of Capital Economics told the Financial Times on Monday, February 1, that the revisions will show that the U.S. economy lost 9 million jobs during the recession rather than the 7.2 estimated earlier. That’s because, Dales said, earlier versions of the data under weighted job losses at small companies.

If the revisions come in as Dales expects, they’re likely to bolster the position of the more cautious members of the Federal Reserve who would like to see a pickup in employment before the central bank starts to raise interest rates.

For the rest of us, any hike in the job-loss numbers is just likely to confirm our suspicions: That the recession felt worse than the official numbers said it was.

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