Reclaiming Common Sense

(Jan. 2) "Nobody" celebrated when the Seasonally Adjusted First-time claims being reported under 300,000 for 250 consecutive weeks.    First-time Claims: Week 251"celebrated the 251st consecutive week with the seasonally adjusted first-time claims data being reported under 300,000 claims and week 141 for consecutive weeks with the Seasonally Adjusted Continuing Claims data being reported under 2.0 million claims.

(Jan. 6) The week started with the ADP Forecast article "Dec. ADP Forecast: Slowing or Growing" detailed how the private sector number could have come in at 89,000 or 189,000 or even 289,000 new payroll positions. The ADP data is only available in the seasonally adjusted format. All sectors were expected to grow payroll positions month to month and December to December. There was only a question regarding one sector.  It was anticipated that we might not see Natural Resources (M/L) grow month to month. Natural Resources positions were expected to grow December to December.

(Jan. 7) The article "Dec. Jobs Report Forecast: Employment Up, Unemployment Down" examined the Current Population Survey (CPS) data on Jobs and Unemployment and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data on workers and wages. The trends in the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) CPS data showed that we would probably record job losses and report seasonally adjusted (SA) job gains this December.  The month to month NSA CES data indicated that some sectors would lose workers and a handful, or less,  would report gains NSA. All sectors except Mining and Logging were expected to report December to December SA worker gains.

(Jan. 8) If you didn't see the forecast article for the ADP report then you may have been caught off-guard with the headline number. "Bombshell Dec, ADP Report"  We saw the expected December to December growth in all sectors except Natural Resources (M/L.) We saw surprising month to month declines in Leisure and Hospitality (LAH,) Information (IT,) and Manufacturing, as well as M/L. The 202,000 headline number came after the October and November data was revised up more than 86,000 position combined. This means that this month rst Time Claims nsecutive week with the Seasonally Adjusted Fwe "added" 288,000 payroll positions from the last value. Bombshell.

(Jan. 9)  Thursday we received the final continuing claims data for December 2019 and the first first-time claims data for 2020. We recorded our 252nd consecutive week with seasonally adjusted First-time Claims reported under 300,000 claims. We also reported our 142nd consecutive week with SA Continuing Claims reported under 2.0 million. This is covered in "First-time Claims First Week of January."

(Jan. 10) The December Jobs Report was better than reported, as is detailed in "Dec. Jobs Report: Santa's Surprise" detailed how all sectors except mining and logging grew December to December. We lost fewer non-seasonally adjusted CPS jobs than were expected. Unemployment rose NSA and fell SA. We have our highest December Participation Rate (NSA) that we have had since December 2012.

(Jan. 11)
This was a good week for economic data. The differences between the ADP payroll report data and the CPS/CES Jobs Report data was clear. Unemployment is low. It may take time for people to realize that we could see unemployment claims rise just because of the size of the workforce is growing, while the relative proportion of the covered insured can remain at, or near, historic lows. First-time claims and continuing claims still matter. The article "Jan. 11 Week in Review: Jobs" covered the above articles.

(Jan. 13) The Week started where last week ended with analysis of the December Jobs Report. "Dec. Workers and Wages: Annual Gains Across the Board" details how we saw worker gains December to December in all sectors except mining and logging. We saw average hourly wage gains in all sectors. This means that we saw total wage growth over 4% last year.

(Jan. 14) Another way to look at the jobs data is to compare the number of jobs created and the changes in unemployment and participation for President Trump at 35 months and compare his accomplishments with former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama. "Five President at 35 months" details how President Trump has created more full-time jobs during his first 35 months in office than the other four Presidents combined (140 months of activity.)

(Jan 14) One of the major reports of the month is the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) report on retail spending. All of the data was pointing towards a record December and our second consecutive $6 trillion retail sales year. The data was supposed to be remarkable for December to December growth. "Dec. Retail Forecast: Sleighful of Sales" explained that even with all the good news there could be some interesting declines as more sales shift to Non-store retail (NSR.)

(Jan. 14) There are some in the media that are attempting to downplay the wage gains. They say that it doesn't reflect what is really happening because we have to consider inflation.What inflation? "Modest December Inflation at 2.31%" continues the monthly discussion regarding Shelter Inflation, Service Inflation, Commodity Deflation, and Health Insurance inflation (for something that supposedly is only 1% of our monthly expenses.

(Jan. 15) It is the author of this column's belief that you have to know what to expect with regard to some of the economic data in order to understand what is reported. It is called managed expectations. "Dec. Real Estate Forecast: New Home Strength" looked at the data for New Home Construction, New Home Sales, and Existing Home Sales and projected the possibility for seriously strong New Home Starts, New Home Completions, and Units under Construction data, as well as potentially strong new home sales data. The question was how much was low existing home inventory going to hold back existing home sales?

(Jan. 16) Thursday was "Weekly Unemployment Claims Day" and "December Retail Sales Report" day. The December retail report revealed a record level of monthly retail sales, any month, any year. Record December Non-Store Retail Sales. It also recorded and reported over $6.2T in total retail sales. This was the second consecutive year, and second time ever, with more than $6T in total retail sales in a given year. "Dec. Retail: Ho Ho Higher" breaks down the data by sector.

(Jan. 16) Seasonally adjusted first-time claims were reported under 300,000 for the 253rd consecutive week. Seasonally adjusted continuing claims were reported under 2.0 million claims for the 143rd consecutive week. "Low First-time Claims: 204,000 Seasonally Adjusted" tells you what the Legacy Media will not tell you. The streaks continue.

(Jan. 17) It appears that the Legacy Media were caught off guard by the remarkable December New Construction data. "New Construction Ends the Year Spiking Higher" explains how now matter how you look at the data, same month data, seasonally adjusted, non-seasonally adjusted, or seasonally adjusted annual rate, Starts spiked, completions spiked, units under construction spiked. This bodes well for the New Home Sales data for December and beyond.

(Jan. 18) "January 18 Week in Review: Winning Retail, Construction, Trade" explains that this week was big for economic data. It was a big week for Trade agreements with Phase One of the China Deal and the Signing into law of the USMCA trade deal between the US, Canada, and Mexico. It was also a week where Fancy Nancy Pelosi had a signing ceremony for the impeachment papers.
It's The Economy.

(Jan. 22) There were numerous stories regarding how women outnumber men in the workforce with the release of the December Jobs Report. This column has been discussing the workforce population data, full-time and part-time jobs data, and unemployment data by gender for an extended period of time."Men and Women Winning This December" examines the data and found that we have a December record level of jobs for men and women

(Jan 22) There have also been discussions that he reason why workforce participation dropped under former President Obama declined because ten thousand Baby Boomers are turning 65  every day. The Boomers were supposedly retiring at record rate. The "Red, gray and Blue" series has identified that those over the age of 60 years old have been over-participating for years. "December's Graying Workforce" shows how the people under 30 are seeing higher levels of unemployment and lower levels of participation than we had during December 2007.

(Jan. 23) Thursday is weekly unemployment claims data day. It used to be headline news at the bottom of the hour. I guess 254 consecutive weeks of having the seasonally adjusted first time claims number being reported under 300,000 claims is not "newsworthy?"  The article "First-time Claims Streak extended to 254 Weeks" explains how the rate of first-time claims and continuing claims tied for the lowest levels ever for their respective weeks of the year - third week of January for first-time claims and second week of January for continuing claims.

(Jan.23) Existing home sales were garnering headlines while they were on the decline. It was a weakness in the current economy. We have had an inventory shortage since 2015. We still have an inventory shortage. We had the most December sales since December 2016. We set an Average Sales Price Record for the month of December, eclipsing $300,000 during December for the first time. This is covered in "Dec. Existing Home Record Sales Price."

(Jan. 25) This week there was something happening in Washington DC. It didn't get much attention so I am not sure what it was. Was it a booming economy? Were more trade deals made? Oh, the Impeachment Trial of President Donald Trump started. Is it a coincidence that it started the week of the third anniversary of his inauguration? The article "Jan. 25 Week in Review: Building Momentum" details the economy, not the sideshow.

(Jan. 27) The first bit of good news that was ignored this week was the December New Home Sales data. "Unimpeachable Dec. New Home Sales" Explains how we had our best December only sales data since December 2006, we had our most December Seasonally Adjusted Annual Sales of new home since December 2006, and how we sold 694,000 total homes this  year, the most since 2007.

(Jan. 28)  We received the the December Jobs Report earlier this month. There was a considerable amount of discussion as the record level of women in the workforce. We are also experiencing a great expansion for ethnic groups: Asian Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans. "Colorblind Expansion" digs into the Current Population Survey jobs data, unemployment data, and participation data for these three groups and Caucasian Americans.Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans have added more new jobs since the recession than Caucasian American, individually and as a whole.

(Jan. 28)  The November JOLTS Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey data was released the week after the December Jobs Report. "November JOLTS Story was Quits" explains how people are quitting at a higher rate this December than any other prior December since 2001. We had the second highest level of November Job Openings, ever, and the second most November JOLTS Hires since 20001.

(Jan. 29)  We had great, record, Retail Sales during the fourth quarter of 2019. We had strong new construction data last quarter and strong new home sales data last quarter.   "Fourth Quarter GDP Forecast: 3%" was expecting a big annualized GDP pop. It was also expected to pop compared to fourth quarter of 2018 while we were in the Schumer Shutdown.

(Jan. 30) We did not get the pop that was expected from the Gross Private Domestic Investment Component of GDP.  The Annualized GDP came in at 2.1%. The Same Quarter GDP grew by 2.3%. The end of the year data was also 2.3%. "Fourth Quarter GDP Finishes 2019 at 2.3%"  looks at the Personal Consumption Expenditure data, the Gross Private Domestic Investment data, as well as the Import and Export data and the Government Consumption Expenditure data.

(Jan. 30) The Fourth Quarter GDP data was released at 8:30 AM EST. This was the same date and time as the release of the Weekly unemployment claims data. We have had a  record 255 consecutive weeks where the seasonally adjusted first-time claims data has been reported under 300,000 claims. We have also had 145 consecutive weeks with the seasonally adjusted continuing claims data being reported under 2 million. Read "Unemployment Claims Drop, Again" for more details. This was virtually ignored on Thursday.