UPDATE 1-U.S. job creation likely to be revised up on methodology change
WASHINGTON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - U.S. employers likely added 345,000 more jobs in the 12 months through March than previously estimated, although the gain would be entirely due to a shift in how the government measures payrolls, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The figure is a preliminary estimate. A final assessment will be made when the government revises payroll employment figures in a report to be released in February.
Once a year, the government compares its non-farm payrolls data, based on monthly surveys of a sample of employers, with a much more complete database of unemployment insurance tax records.
The comparison is eventually used in an annual "benchmark" revision of closely watched data on employer payrolls and is meant to correct for sampling errors in the monthly surveys.
However, the gain reported on Thursday was because 469,000 health care workers previously considered not to be payroll workers were shifted onto the books, the Labor Department said.
These workers are directly contracted by households to take care of elderly or disabled people in their homes, a work category akin to self employment. But because some states have recently changed rules so that these workers can now draw unemployment benefits, the Labor Department's methodology now considers them as payroll employees.
If the classification change had not been carried out, the government would have reduced its estimate of employment in the year through March by 124,000, the department said.