There are more women working for the postal service than the Labor Department originally thought. That has the potential to alter some much-reported numbers, but isn’t likely to change the underlying trend of the recovery.
The Bureau of Labor Statisticsreported Monday that it had made a mistake when calculating the ratio of female-to-male employees in the postal service. BLS discovered the error after economist Stephen Bronars noticed that in the original accounting, women made up 96% of Post Office job cuts.
BLS says it correctly estimated how many jobs the postal service has cut since November 2009. But the mistaken ratio led the agency to mis-estimate how many of those positions were held by women. The mistake also affects other measures that include the postal service, such as the ratio for government jobs or the total number of jobs.
Among the estimates likely to change: The widely reported number touted by Republican candidate Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign in April that 92.3% of workers who lost jobs since President Barack Obama took office were women. Since that number includes jobs lost in the postal service, it will be revised when the BLS releases the new data. It’s unknown how the ratios will change, but if the job cuts in the postal service since January 2009 fell equally on men and women, that likely means that around 50,000 job losses attributed to women were actually borne by men. That would put the overall percent of job losses for women closer to 85%.