Reclaiming Common Sense

(Dec. 1) The first day of the month means that a "Top Ten Articles of the Month" Article. Guess what? You readers are concerned about the Federal Debt, Unemployment Claims , real Estate, Jobs, and you like reading these "Week in Review Articles."  "Top Ten Articles of November 2017" has summaries and links for all of the articles.

(Dec. 2)The Week in Review was one of the Top Ten articles of December. It included articles on the GDP, New Home Sales, and Weekly Unemployment claims data.

(Dec. 5) Jobs week starts with a jobs forecast article. "November Jobs Forecast: Holiday Cheer" projected non-seasonally adjusted Part-time Jobs Gains, full-time job losses, a mixed picture for unemployed workers, and a huge surge in private sector workers. The Devil was going to be in the data revisions to the prior data and the seasonal factors used to convert the non-seasonally adjusted data to the seasonally adjusted data.

(Dec. 5) The article "What to expect from Nov. ADP" projected year over year November growth in all sectors other than Information Technology, and month to month growth in six sectors. It projected strength from the seasonally adjusted data.

(Dec. 6) Wednesday's November ADP report was good, not great. Instead of nine sectors up year to year and 6 up month to month, nine were up month to month and six were up year to year. "ADP November: Bumping Along" revealed that the annual growth rate is up significantly from last November.

(Dec. 7) The weekly unemployment claims data was released on Thursday - they still do that. "Golden Weekly Unemployment Claims Data" details how we have the lowest first week of December first-time unemployment claims data since 1970. The same can be said for the fourth/final week of November datum for the non-seasonally adjusted continuing claims data. Oh, and we have 140 million people who are "covered insured" right now compared to the 50 million, or so, covered insured during 1970. The data for that isn't available. It was 54,000,000 covered insured during 1973.

(Dec. 8) The Jobs Report was good as this column projected. There were 221,000 private sector jobs were added, seasonally adjusted. The September and October data were revised higher. The unemployment rate and unemployment levels were recorded, non-seasonally adjusted, at levels not seen during the month of November since 2000. The is was a "Stellar November Jobs Report."

(Dec. 9) Another Week in Review - Another top ten article for December. It was Jobs Week for this Week in Review.

(Dec. 11) How is President Trump doing compared to Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama after his first ten months compared to their first ten months in office? "Five Presidents after Ten Months" reveals that President Trump has added more private sector workers and more full-time jobs than any of his predecessors. He has also added more non-seasonally adjusted private sector workers and shed unemployed workers while increasing the number of participants and increasing the participation rate.

(Dec. 11) A second follow-up to the November jobs report was "Amazonian Recovery: Women are Winning." The "War on Women" was a theme of the 2012 Presidential Election. The truth is that the war was on the Male Worker as sectors that were heavy in male workers shed jobs during the recession and slow to rehire them. Women recovered from the recession first and have added more full-time jobs than men have.

(Dec. 14) Thursday we saw the release of the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) and the Weekly Unemployment Claims Report. The Unemployment Report used to be "Bottom of the Hour Headline News." Now it is "Seriously Unloved" economic data.

(Dec. 14) One of the Mainstream Media Memes has been that we are in a "Retail Ice Age." This week that theory was invalidated by the huge surge in retail sales. "Surging Sales for November Retail" details how the November sales was up by over 6% compared to November 2016. This surge in sales means that the rolling year grow is over 4.5% compared to where we were during December of 2016. We have already seen as much dollar volume sales as we saw during all of 2013, we are roughly where we were at the end of 2014, and significantly ahead of where we were during November of 2015 and 2016. If this is an Ice Age then the prognosticators must live at the Equator or in Death Valley.

(Dec. 15) Wednesday we saw the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report on inflation. This column was otherwise distracted, as was most of the media. This column was researching changes in the sector data that was recorded in the monthly jobs report. It took until Friday for analysis of the CPI report to be published. Once again we saw inflation in the service data and deflation in the commodity data. "Nov. CPI: Service Inflation, Again" also found that we supposedly had not Health Care Insurance Inflation during the past 12 months. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Shelter inflation continues to exceed the base rate of inflation. Energy costs are up 9.4%.

(Dec. 16) The Week in Review was released on Saturday. Go Figure. Another top ten article. Go Figure.

(Dec 18) This week began where last week left off. The first article of the week examined the November Employment Situation report as it pertained to the various sectors of the labor market. "November Sector Surge in Workers" There are four sectors that have not recovered to pre-recession levels: Mining/Logging, manufacturing, Construction, and Information Technology. We saw solid month to month non-seasonally adjusted CES worker growth during November. This was the second best growth rate November since 1980.

(Dec. 19) This week was a big week for real estate data. Tuesday morning, early, the "November Real Estate Forecast" article was released. The data indicated that we should see solid new construction start data, new units under construction data, and surging completions data. It was also projected that we would have a spike in new construction sales and the potential for a new construction record Average Sales Price for November. A similar projection was made for the November Existing Home Sales data.

(Dec. 19) Tuesday we received the New Construction data. "Nov. New Construction: Expansion Continues" found that Starts Soared, Under Construction data edged higher, and that completions, while lower than November 2016, exceed completions for the month of November from 2007 through 2015. We have exceeded the number of single family starts for 2016 with one month remaining. We are 16,000 units units short for single family starts from where we ended 2016 and we are 88,000 units ahead of where we were last November.

(Dec. 20) Wednesday we received the Existing Home Sales data. The November 2017 data was better than every November after November 2006, The article "November Existing Homes - Sales up, Inventory Down" examined the unadjusted data and found good news. The only problem is that there is a lack of inventory.

(Dec. 21) Thursday we received some of the best unemployment claims data for the current week of November that we have seen since the unemployment benefits program began 50 years ago. "Weekly Unemployment Claims Matter." The First-time Claims number was reported at 245,000. They could have reported it between 226,000 and 255,000. Seasonal factors matter. The Continuing Claims data was reported at 1.932 million claims. The continuing claims data could have been reported as low as 1.879 million claims. The report is full of FACTs (False Assertions Considered to be True.)

(Dec. 22) Friday ended the week were it started with am article of real estate and an article regarding the November Employment Situation Report.  Thursday I was caught up in a conversation on Twitter with some great people and decided it was time to compile the data for the "Red, Gray, and Blue" Aging Workforce article for November.  "November's Aging Workforce" broke down the employment, unemployment, and workforce population data by age group. There is a problem with the 40-55 year old age groups. There is a different kind of problem with the under 25 age groups. There is a different kind of problem for those over 55.

(Dec. 22) If it seems like there is a shortage of for sale signs and an abundance of sold signs, you are right. The same is true for the new homes market. There is a lack of new homes for sale, by historical measures. Even with a shortage of inventory we saw the most November New Home Sales since November 2006 and the highest November Average Sales Price ever. "November New Home Sales - Ho Ho Higher" details how we have already sold more new homes this year, after eleven months than we have since 2008 through twelve months. Inventory is growing. We have a long way to go to reach 2006 and 2006 levels. The authors of the report think we could see over 700,000 units sold during the next 12 months. This article projects 620,000 units for this calendar year and potentially 650,000 for next year.

(Dec. 23) The article "December 23rd Week in Review: Housing Hurrah" recapped the prior week's articles on the real estate data.

(Dec. 26) Years ago, this column's sister site published an article that revealed the projection that the interest on the debt would exceed one trillion dollars a year. This month the monthly Treasury Report was released with little fanfare. "Federal Budget: Debt Interest Exploding" details how we could balance our budget this year if we didn't have the interest on the debt.The projected on-budget deficit for FY 2017-18 is $533 billion. The interest on the debt is projected to be $503 billion. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid will run a surplus this year. They are supposed to be "off-budget." the Off-budget surplus is being used to offset some of the on-budget deficit.... again... as always.

(Dec. 27) This columns sister site has produced regular articles on how the Federal Debt is mortgaging our future. This year's version compares the $20.6 trillion in debt to the $208,000 mortgage amount on a home worth $260,000 with a 20% down payment. (208,000 is comparable to 20.8 trillion as 260,000 is to a future debt of 26 trillion dollars.)"Federal Debt: Still Mortgaging Our Future" details how we have added nearly $3 trillion to the Federal Debt since November 2014, that we haven't made any payments to our "Federal Mortgage," and that if interest rates increase to the levels we saw during 2014 that it would take 360 monthly payments of $112 billion dollars a month - every month - for a total cost to exceed $40 trillion to pay off $20.6 trillion in debt - if we don't add to the debt during the interim. It's our money.

(Dec. 28) Thursday still means the release of the weekly unemployment claims report. The data has been so good lately that I have run out of superlatives. "Superlative Weekly Unemployment Claims Data" shows how the data could have been reported lower than it was and how it is the "best it has been" for this week of the week since 1970.

(Dec. 29) The monthly employment situation report was released the second week of the month this month. This column has written multiple articles on the data. "Nov. Multiple Job Holders; Up is Down" is the final installment of the jobs data to be examined this month in this column. Multiple job holders were generally higher during November this year than they were during October of this year. The number if multiple job holders were all lower this November than last November. Up was down.

(Dec. 30) This week in review was one that used a slow news week to catch-up on some data that was ignored in the media. "Dec. 30 Week in Review: Federal Debt" recapped the data.