It’s those revisions that get you

Perhaps you heard the news today: First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell by 12,000 for the week ended June 2 compared to the week before. Finally some good employment news after last week’s report of weak job creation in May.

Yeah…not so much. If you just read the headline or heard the sound bite, you might have missed the other news out of today’s Labor Department announcement. After revisions, the previous week’s 10,000-claim increase was actually a 16,000-claim increase. But in its press releases, the department doesn’t spell out the scope of its revisions, so unless you are paying close attention, you might not realize that instead of a net improvement of 2,000 over two weeks, job claims actually rose by 4,000.

This happens all the time, and you really have to watch carefully to get the complete picture. In the May jobs report, for example, it wasn’t just the weak 69,000-job increase that raised concerns but also the 49,000-job downward revision in April.

It always pays to read the fine print.