The latest Quarterly County Employment and Wages (QCEW) report came out this week. You may recall from a prior article on the topic that this employment survey is quite a bit more accurate than the monthly employment estimates, but that it is typically ignored because it lags by six months.

You may also recall that I advanced the theory earlier this year that the statistical adjustments employed by the agencies that put out these numbers were causing job growth to be overstated. Shortly after I wrote that article, this thesis was vindicated with the arrival of revised estimates showing that San Diego employment growth had indeed been much weaker than initially reported.

The latest QCEW report provides more evidence still. According to the report, year-over-year employment growth in San Diego had come to a standstill as of September 2007. Private sector employment, which excludes government jobs, had actually shrunk slightly. This is a huge difference from the monthly estimates released at the time, which showed that San Diego had added about 12,000 jobs in the year leading to September 2007.

The question now is whether the agencies are still overestimating job creation for the monthly figures, and whether the current growth is merely stagnant or worse than that. Only the passage of time will tell.


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