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Revisions are a way with life with economic data

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The revised data can show certain sectors of the economy are doing better – or
worse – than initially thought.

That’s true for the latest revisions of regional and statewide employment figures.
If you thought the Richmond region was performing better than the numbers had
showed, you were right.

In fact, employment in the Richmond metro area grew a lot faster than originally
reported while the state showed a slight downward revision in its year-over-year growth

The revised figures show that the regional employment grew 1.6 percent in the
year ending December 2011, for an addition of nearly 10,000 jobs.

The previous estimates put employment growth at 0.4 percent during the same
period, for a gain of 2,580.

Despite these gains, January 2012 employment in the metro area is still 17,000
jobs below its peak employment in July 2007.

In the state, employment grew 0.9 percent for the year that ended December
2011, according to the revised numbers. The estimate had been slightly higher at 1

Five of the state’s 11 metro areas saw upward revision in employment growth rate.
Most national indicators are revised at least one month after the original release,
as more information becomes available. And then, once a year, the figures are often
revised again based on a broader sampling of data.

The same is true of regional data.

The monthly employment numbers for Virginia and the Richmond metro area
are based on a sample of firms that represent about 30 percent of the employees in the
state. It is called the current employment statistics data.

In March of every year, the Virginia Employment Commission revises previously
released employment estimates with more reliable quarterly census of employment and
wages data through an annual process known as benchmarking.

The data collected through the employment and wage program represent almost
a complete count of employment.

More than 96 percent of civilian jobs are counted through this wage and
salary program because employers are required by law to provide the employment
commission with a quarterly count of the number of employees covered under
unemployment insurance.

So having the revision, in this case, bode well for the Richmond area, which
was hit particularly hard during the recession and economic malaise of the last several

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