Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

The Participation Rate Matters. The participation rate is the portion of the workforce population that has a job or is unemployed. "Nobody" was paying attention to the improving participation rates under President Reagan and Clinton. When they dropped a little under President Bush "the sky was falling." When the participation rate went into a steady decline under President Obama is was "the Baby Boomers' Fault." What is forgotten is that we started with a low participation rate under President Carter and that the participation rate rose under President Reagan even as unemployment fell. President Trump started with the lowest participation rate of any of the past five Presidents.


What is Full-Employment? Full-employment is when we have an unemployment rate under 5.00%. The problem is that 5% unemployment at 63% participation is not the same as 5% unemployment at 67% participation. It also isn't as simple as adding 4% to the unemployment rate. If we are at full-employment now then we were are fuller and fullest employment. If we had the same June participation rates we had during 1999,2000, or 2007 we would have 8.4 million to 11.3 million more participants - employed or unemployed. The reason we are not seeing stronger wage inflation is because there is still slack in the workforce. The real unemployment rate is not 4.5% - It is closer to 10%. 


Where is the wage inflation expected with Full Employment? The Phillips curve indicates that we see higher inflation with lower unemployment rates and lower inflation with higher unemployment rates. Unemployment rates of 9-10% are high.We are probably going to need participation rates in excess of 65% to see wage inflation come into play.


Full-time Jobs are up, part-time jobs and unemployment are both down. The Participation rate is improving.President Trump started in a deeper hole than President Reagan.  President Obama was unable to recover all of the lost full-time jobs of the Great Recession and maintain them through his final month in office. We have not achieved full-employment, as of yet.


It's the economy.

Participation Matters. The pundits who comment on the Jobs Report do not often dig into the non-seasonally adjusted data. This column has based virtually all of its article on the non-seasonally adjusted data. Participants are those who are working full-time jobs or part-time jobs and those who are unemployed and actively looking for work. Right now we have 161.4 million participants. We have a record level of people working full-time jobs. We have fewer people working part-time jobs than President Obama had during his first May in office. President Trump has seen unemployment drop by 899,000 workers - these are negative participants. President Obama had added 2 million unemployed participants during his first five job reports. President Trump has added 4.3 million full-time jobs, second only to President Clinton. President Obama was shedding full-time jobs. Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Trump saw the number of part-time workers drop - President Obama saw them rise. Would you rather have a net gain of unemployed workers and part-time workers of 2.475 million people or a net gain of 2.66 million participants as full-time workers?

This column has had a considerable number of articles inspired by Internet Memes. The Whopper of all Internet Memes, at least at its inception, was the "Number of Jobs Created by President Obama" meme. The authors of that meme made four mistakes; They compared President Obama before the end of his term with Presidents at the end of their terms, they included George H.W. Bush who only served one term; they excluded President Reagan's accomplishments; and they were looking at job creation from the lowest point in President Obama's term in office. That first column was a three-part series "Four Presidents at 81 Months." Seasonal factors impact every President. Every President loses jobs during Month 96 - the month of the new President's Inauguration.What was uncovered after96 months of President Obama was that he had recovered all of the lost Full-time jobs from the Great recession, that after losing 5 million jobs under his watch he added 14 million jobs. This means that he added 9 million jobs for 19 million new workers.