Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

The January Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report, was released this past Friday. There was a considerable amount of data to digest. The Current Employment Statistics (CES) worker data saw considerable revisions, mostly to the data from 2015 through 2017. These revisions created a surprise. The Current Population Survey data was unchanged for the same period of time. The surprise here was the dramatic upward revision to the workforce population value.  This upward revision negatively impacted the workforce participation number. So far four articles have been written:

  • "January Jobs Surprise" details how the Seasonally Adjusted (SA) Private Sector Workers data could have been reported up 452,000 workers, instead of the 196,000 that was reported.
  • "Seriously Strong CPS Data" detailed how we had one of the best January reports since 2003 with minor drops in non-seasonally adjusted full-time and part-time jobs and a minor uptick in unemployment. This is normal to see drops in jobs and drops in workers, non-seasonally adjusted, during January. It is one of the reason that the data is seasonally adjusted.
  • "Five Presidents after 12 months: Jobs" compared President Trumps data to Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. President Trump and President Clinton had great first years - each adding approximately 2.3 million jobs. President Clinton added 2.3 million net part-time jobs and President Trump added a net 2.3 million full-time jobs.
  • "January Jobs up in 10 of 11 Sectors" details how all sectors lost non-seasonally adjusted workers, ten of eleven sectors gained workers, and how the data from 2015 was revised lower, while the data from 2016 and 2017

How is everyone doing? Are some people doing better than others? This column has generated a number of article series off of Internet memes. The "War on Women" meme from the 2012 and 2016 Presidential selections caused this column to examine the claims that women are being targeted. They may be. They me be being targeted for more full-time jobs. They may be being targeted for more part-time jobs.


Fewer Men are working full-time jobs now than July 2007. That is not a typographical error. There are fewer men working full-time now than 10 1/2 years ago. Men had lost  million full-time jobs between July 2007 and January 2010. It took until July 2016 for all of those full-time jobs to be recovered, before they were lost, again. Men added jobs during the late Spring and Summer of 2017  before  they  before losing those full-time jobs, again. This is not all doom and gloom. There were 1.2 million more men working full-time jobs during January 2018 than during January 2017. There were also 132,000 more men working part-time jobs during January 2018 versus January 2017.


Women have created Four Million New Jobs Since July 2007.  That sounds pretty good. They lost 3.8 million part-time jobs by January 2010.  They had recovered all of their lost Full-time jobs by the Summer of 2015 and never looked back. The problem is that women have added 12.8 million workers to their workforce population. Men have added 11.9 million workers to their workforce population.


Population Matters. This column has written many articles regarding the workforce participation rate and missing participants. It has been reported elsewhere that the participation rate has been falling because Baby Boomers have been retiring. This column has written articles showing that people are working longer into their golden years. What is interesting, if you examine the Jobs Iceberg histograms for men and women, is that both populations saw decreases in their workforce population during January 2017 and  spikes in their their populations during January 2018. When the population is reduced it gives an artificial boost the the workforce participation rate . When the population is boosted it reduces the workforce participation rate. The reduction in the total population kept President Obama from having his workforce participation drop during his final month in office.  The January Participation rate is the lowest for women that it has been since 2003. Men saw their participation improve December to January. Even with the population changes they have a comparable participation rate to January 2017 and a higher rate than January 2016.


What are the real unemployment rates for men and women. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men was 4.479% during January 2018. This is a full percentage point lower than January 2008. This should be good news. The participation rate is down by 4%. This is not good news. Unemployed workers are participants. If they are not employed or unemployed they are effectively unemployed. The effective unemployment rate for men, keeping the participation rate constant, is 10.08%. If the same analysis is done % to the U-3 unemployment rate has dropped from 4.81% to 4.15%. This should be good. The effective Unemployment Rate for women is 8.61%. Five percent unemployment has been considered full-employment. Are we at full employment without full participation?


The Devil is in the details. The Devil is in the data. We had a great January Jobs report. Unadjusted workers and unadjusted jobs did not fall as much as they could have fallen. Unemployment was up - and yet it was the lowest it had been for the month of January since 2002. President Trump has added more jobs than Presidents Reagan, George W. Bush, or Obama during their first 12 months in office. President Trump added full-time jobs while President Clinton added part-time jobs. More jobs generates more retail sales. More full-time jobs means more people eligible for health insurance coverage through their employers. This is a virtuous cycle.


It's the economy.