During the dog days of August — as commentators were already wondering whether the nearly decade-long economic recovery was on its last legs — government number-crunchers made an announcement that jolted economists.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that, according to preliminary data, 501,000 fewer jobs had been created between March 2018 to March 2019 than officials had initially estimated.

No one lost their job over it, because adjusting the numbers isn’t unusual — in fact, the government does it routinely. Sometimes the numbers go up, and sometimes they go down. In this case, the government realized that it had been too generous in its attempt to quantify the number of people employed over that year-long period.

When this happens, economists throw out the previous employment

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