Job creation in the U.S. was stronger last year than previously estimated, but gains earlier in the expansion were less robust, according to the Labor Department’s benchmark annual revisions released Friday.
U.S. employers added 2.74 million workers to payrolls in 2015, better than the prior reading of 2.65 million. The average monthly gain was a robust 228,000, though the year’s increase was still weaker than 2014—the strongest year for job creation since 1999.
The economy added 3.02 million jobs in 2014, a slight downward revision from 3.12 million. Job gains for 2013 and 2012 were also recast lower.
The changes reflect the new employment benchmark figure established for March 2015, which showed the U.S. had 206,000 fewer total jobs than previously estimated. The new figure takes into account a comprehensive look at tax records and alters calculations for seasonal adjustments and other estimating tools.
Strong job creation in the second half of last year narrowed the downward revision for December’s total employment to 105,000. Friday’s revisions caused small changes to employment data back several decades.
The largest downward revision came in the professional and business services category, which includes attorneys, accountants and temporary workers. That field has 110,000 fewer employees as of March than previously estimated.
Leisure and hospitality, including restaurant workers, had 45,000 fewer employees in March. Employment counts for the transportation and warehousing was 65,300 more in March the previously thought. Jobs at all levels of government were revised up by 60,000.
Month to month, April had the largest upward revision: 64,000 jobs. And March had the biggest downward revision: 35,000 jobs.
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