Reclaiming Common Sense

August Columns - A Fresh Dose of Reality

If you were looking for good data from the Month of August, it depends upon your perspective.  If you live in Governmentland then all of the seasonally adjusted data makes sense. If you live in Realityville that its a different story.

(August 1)  The month of August started, as other months have started,  with a review of thetop ten columns of July

(August 2)   "Expect a Weak  July Jobs Report" This column was looking forward to the July Jobs Report. It was though that the seasonally adjusted private sector worker number would be reported under 160,000 and could be reported under 150,000.

(August 4)"Lowest Unadjusted July First-time Unemployment Claims Number Since July 1967" Every Thursday that is not a holiday we see the release of the Weekly Unemployment Claims Report. Once a staple of Thursday morning news, tjis report has become an afterthought.

(August 5) The First Friday of most months is "Jobs Friday"  The title of the column "Unbelievable July Jobs Report. Do Not Believe It" says it all... or at least most of it. The seasonal factors skewed the data reported in the mainstream media.

(August 6) The Week in Review Column.

(August 8) The first column of the week looked at the Jobs data from the perspective of house President  Obama's Jobs data compared at the 90 month mark of Presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush. The Effective Unemployment Rate, when factoring in changes in participation, exceeds 12%

(August 9)  One of the overlooked topics of the jobs report is the number of Multiple Job Holders, especially the number of people working multiple part-time jobs. The number of people working multiple part-time jobs during the month of July  hit a record high this past July.

(August 10) How long has the job recovery been? Again, the rest of the world is discussing how President Obama has added 15 million jobs to the economy. The problem is that we lost 15 million full-time jobs from the start of the recession to the worst of the recession. We started shedding jobs during August of 2007 and it did not stop until January of 2010. The column "Seven Years of Jobs Recovery, Seventeen months of Expansion" details how this has been the slowest jobs recovery since 1981. 

(August 11) The Weekly Unemployment Claims Report hardly gets a mention these days. The Administration continues to proclaim the FACT (False Assertion Considered to be True) that this this the longest streak of weekly under 300,000 first-time unemployment claims. The streak began during January this year, not March of last year. There have been multiple columns written here in that subject. This past week we received a good unemployment claims report - too good. "The Continuing Claims Level Unchanged - Unbelievable" explains that we should be concerned. Very concerned.

(August 12) We are a consumption based economy. If we earn money, we spend money. If we spend money, employers hire more workers and more products and services are provided. The Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) data was reported as flat for the month of July. Supposedly the reported was "Unexpectedly Unchanged." The truth is a little more complicated than that. May's data was revised downward. June's data was revised upward. We saw "July to July retail sales drop in six sectors." This was the second slowest July to July Growth rate since 1992.

Week in Review August 13,If you want to get a recap of the columns written during any particular week, check out the week in review columns.

(August 15) It was during his first run for the Presidency that Senator Obama proclaimed that George W. Bush was unpatriotic and irresponsible for adding $4 trillion in debt to the Federal Debt during his time in office. The Federal debt stood at just e$10 trill when President Obama took office. We saw the introduction of Cash for Clunkers, The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP,) and Quantitative Easing. The Total cost of TARP has almost been repaid or written off. When the repayment of TARP is deducted from the debt President Obama "inherited" is closer to 9.6 Trillion. The "19.4 Trillion in Federal Debt is Irresponsible and Unpatriotic." Where are we spending our money? How can we have near record revenue and still have record Debt?

(August 16) A major piece of economic data was released this week: The New Construction data. New homes mean more retail spending for furniture, appliances, and other items. You may have heard that New Construction is on the rise or that it has hit a five month high. Most of the data quoted is the seasonally adjusted data. The problem is that we saw new construction drop so low that almost anything is an improvement. While it is true that the number of residential units under construction continues to soar, the number of new home starts and completions are fewer than what we saw during the month of July from 1981-2007.

(August 17) There were some reports that showed that we were on track for housing starts to exceed 1 million units this year. The problem is that they were looking at the housing units data and not the single family starts data.If we look at the single family data we find that Single Family Starts and Single Family Completions are happening at a slower pace than were recorded during 1983 and 1992. "Is Another Housing Recession Startng?"

(August 18)  We are supposed be seeing a huge boom in retail spending because of the low gasoline prices we are seeing at the pump. The money freed up from filling our tank is supposed to be going to food, clothing, cars and the like. What is missing from this narrative is that we are spending more on taxes, medical care and medical insurance. Those savings of $2500 a year we were promised are evaporating. This column revealed that  we are spending all of our energy savings on higher rents/mortgages and that we are spending almost all of those "savings" on higher education and costs. We have also seen higher costs for medical care services, hospital services, and health insurance. The July CPI report revealed that Health Insurance Costs are up 7.8% from July 2015 to July 2016.

(August 18) Thursday is the day that we receive a second "important" piece of economic data. Thursday we saw the release of the Unemployment Claims Report. Yes, they still release the data on a weekly basis. This week we saw the authors perpetuate the FACT (False Assertion Considered to be True) that the re have been 76 consecutive weeks where the seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment claims number has been under 300,000 for 76 consecutive weeks. We also saw that the continuing unemployment claims number remains stubbornly over 2 million claimants. The "Streak" has only been 26 weeks.

(August 19) This week we saw the release of the Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report for the month of July. This report breaks down the jobs data and the unemployment data by state. Would you believe that there are 5 sectors in the economy that have seen job growth since the Great Recession.? Would you believe that 6 sectors have seen jobs decline since the recession and have not recovered nearly 9 years after the start of the recession? We have had an Incomplete Recovery.

Week in Review August 20

(August 22) This column has reviewed the Employment Situation data from a number of perspectives. There is the general full-time and part-time job perspective, the Male and Female Perspective, and the employment and unemployment situation by age groups. This week the question was raise as to how the African American Population is doing under the first African American President. The column "Black Jobs Matter" examined the July Employment situation data as it pertains to the African American population.

(August 23) 
This week we saw the release of the July New Home Sales data. The general feeling was that this was the best data we have seen in many years. The problem is that we were coming out of some of the worst data seen in many decades.  "July New Homes Sales Worse than 1992" looked at the number of units sold during the month of July as well as the number of units sold during the first seven months of this calendar year and the past twelve months.

(August 24)
While the new home sales data was taken as a positive sign, the release of the existing home sales  data was  taken as a sign of potential weakness in the economy. "July Existing Home Sales - Weaker than 2013" examined. There were some stories in the media regarding the weakness of the existing home sales as compared to 2015. Nobody commented on how the units sold were weaker than 2013. June is normally the busiest closing month of the year. A drop from June to July is anticipated. A drop from July to July happens occasionally. A drop from from 2013 to 2016 was not anticipated.We are trending to sell fewer homes than we sold during 2000, 2001, 2013 and 2015.

(August 25)
Thursday is the traditional day for the release of the Weekly Unemployment Claims report. Did you miss it? This is one of the most manipulated pieces of data that is released.  We are not at 77 consecutive weeks of sub-300k first-time unemployment claims(seasonally adjusted.) This is a manuFACTured streak. (False Assertion Considered to be True.) The column "Continuing Unemployment Claims Continue above 2 Million"  raises questions as to why the First-time unemployment claims are so low and why the Continuing Claims level has not dropped below the 2000 level. 

(August 26)
The first rule of this column is that if the data appears to be too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. There are a considerable number of FACTs that are being pushed by the Democrats and the media. The column "Who is manipulating the Economic Data for Hillary" highlights 9 FACTs. FACTs like President Obama has added 17 million jobs to the economy (we had to lose 15 million full-time jobs during the recession) and  that we have had 77 weeks with Seasonally Adjusted First time Claims under 300,000 (actually only 27 weeks.) Also the FACT that President Obama has cut the deficits in half (he had to double them first.)

(August 26)
One of the most popular columns on this website, month in and month out, is the Monthly Jobs Report column. This website (and its parallel website ) have also published Prediction or preview columns on what to expect from the jobs report. This Friday the August Jobs Report Preview Column was published. The monthly jobs report uses two data sets to create all the numbers reported - The Current Population Survey (CPS) data and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data. The CPS data measures changes in jobs, full-time and part-time.) The CES data measures the change in worker level. The column "August Jobs Report Preview, Down is Up" details the changes that we can expect in the recorded non-seasonally adjusted data and the reported seasonally adjusted data. The CPS data should record and report real and seasonally adjusted job losses. It should also record a drop in the unemployment level. This means that the workforce participation rate and the unemployment rate should fall. The CES data set could record another month of negative worker growth recorded (May 2016 we saw the "jobs Streak" end) and positive worker growth reported. We will almost certainly see CPS numbers Decline (Down) and could see CES data Improve (Up.) Down is Up.

Week in Review August 27