Reclaiming Common Sense

(July 1)The Week in review column included article on how "Medicaid is Holding Us Prisoner," a GDP forecast article, a GDP results article and a July Jobs Report forecast column. These were the article released during the final week of June.

(July 2- July 5) Happy Independence Day Weekend

(July 6) The weekly unemployment report was released with no fanfare. "Another Solid Unemployment Claims Report" detail how we are at First Time Unemployment Claims and Continuing Claims Levels not seen since the 1970s. When you consider the differences between  the Covered Insured level during 1971 and now - the rate of claims is nothing short of amazing.

(July 7) The June Jobs Report was released Friday. The data for April and May were revised higher. The number of unadjusted full-time jobs added to the economy was the best in over a decade.Unemployment rose as people started looking for work. The article "June Full-time Jobs JUMP" goes into the details of how we saw Non-Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) Current Employment Statistics Private Sector Worker Growth and Current population Survey Job Growth.We saw a jump of over 1.4 million NSA full-time Jobs. We also saw a decline of over 700,00 part-time jobs.

(July 8) The groundwork was done to publish the "Five Presidents after Five Months" Column while working on the "Jump" article.The NSA Participation rate has been rising. The official U-6 unemployment rate has been improving under President Trump.There are concerns as to why we are not seeing wages improve. This column details how President Trump is doing regarding job creation and unemployment compared to Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama.We are not quite at full employment, even though the unemployment rate is under 5%. When we had a June unemployment rate of 4.5% during 1999 we had a participation rate  of 67.7%/ Right now our participation rate is 63.3%. The effective unemployment rate (U-7) is over 10% and is not near full employment.

(July 8) There was not much to review due to the "Fourth of July Weekend." The most important thing was the June Jobs Report and what it meant as compared to the first five month under President Trump. The week in review is found here.

(July 10) The June Jobs Report revealed that we had a drop, month to month, in people working multiple jobs. We also saw a record level of June workers who were working two part-time jobs.

(July 11) The June Jobs Report also has sector data available. We saw "Nine of eleven sectors add workers during June." The only sectors that did not add workers were the Government Sector and the IT sector.

(July 11) There has been a considerable amount or air-time spent discussing the the "Retail Ice Age." The article "Retail Winter or Retail Ice Age" was written in advance of Friday's monthly MARTS Retail report. Anybody who has gone out to "brick and mortar" stores to shop during the past few months and years will attest to the situation where salespeople are being replaced by cashiers and cashiers are being replaced by self-checkout lines. This article looks at the changes in jobs in the retail sector, using the MARTS classifications, plus Leisure and Hospitality jobs.

(July 12) This column has published articles based on dubious Internet memes. The "War on Men" series was created after one of these memes hit my Twitter timeline. "Is the War on Men Waning" details how men now have a record level of Full-time Jobs. It has taken almost ten years to do this since the peak pre-recession market of July 2007.

(July 13) The JOLTS data has been revealing increases in Education and Unemployment Claims Separations, and that separations are happening faster than hires. The article  ""Education and Health Sector Growing" started the analysis of the CES Worker data for the Health and Education Sector. The Social Assistance part of this Super Sector is growing considerably while the Nursing Home part is not.

(July 13)  The Weekly unemployment claims report was released with zero fanfare. We have "Seriously Low Unemployment Claims Data."

(July 15) Yesterday the Consumer Price Index data was released as well as the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) data was released. The seasonally adjusted data was a bit misleading. The monthly data tends to show a decrease from May to June. There is no "Memorial" day to spur sales - Father's day, sort of. Father;s day does not compare to "Mother's Day." The article "June Retails Sales Better than Last June" details how even though there was a drop off from the May Sales level, the April and May levels were upwardly revised, some sectors have not recovered from the recession, and some may be feeling the impacts of the "Amazon Effect." It also revealed that we are on track to have our best retail sales year - EVER.

(July 15) The Week in Review. Sometimes the week is so busy a new column is written on a Saturday morning in addition to the week in review column, The week after the jobs report is used to dig deeper into the Jobs Report data. The week in review for July 15 is found here.

(July 17) Last Friday the CPI report revealed that we have a very low level of inflation. If you believe in the Phillips Curve then you know that low inflation normally is associated with higher unemployment and higher inflation is related to lower unemployment. The story that has been missed for a long time is that we are experiencing Shelter and Medical Inflation. The ACA was supposed to bring down medical costs. Someone needs to explain that to the CPI - It would be reported higher if they used the 2015 weighting.

(July 19) The Retail Report and the Jobs report garner a considerable amount of attention during the course of a month - or they used to garner attention. New Construction is another item that should garner attention.  Single family starts are at a nine year high. Completions are strong, as well. The Under Construction data is near the peak seen during 2003-2006. "June New Construction Building Momentum" details how the data is showing steady improvement from the depths of the housing recession. The monthly data was good. The Rolling year data was good. the current year data was good.

(July 20) The "most important" piece of data was the weekly unemployment claims report. The data is the strongest it has been for this time of year since the 1970s when we had 80 million fewer workers. "First-time Unemployment Claims Near Record Low" details how we have fewer claims for more workers.

(July 21)  We saw a huge spike in employment last month. We saw full-time jobs increase month to month and year to year. Men are working more full-time jobs than they have during the past decade. There has been a push for older workers to work longer as a result of the recession. "Red, Gray and Blue: Jobs Up" details how while the office U-3 unemployment rate is 4.5%, the effective unemployment rate for everyone, the U-7, is closer to 9% or 10%, and the effective unemployment rate for those over the age of 60 is negative. These people are not pulling down the participation rate, they are boosting it.

(July 22) Another  week, Another Week in Review.

(July 24) Sometimes this column writes articles to explain the economic data and sometimes it publishes columns to forecast economic data. Next week this column will publish a forecast article regarding this July Jobs Report. This past week it published an article regarding the expectations for the June New Home Sales Report and the June Existing Home Sales Report ."June Real Estate Sales Forecast" projected continuing improvement in both the new and existing home sales.

(July 24)
The peak year for existing home sales was 2005 for units and 2006 for average sales price. The protracted housing recession was created, in part, because of the protracted full-time jobs recession and recovery. People who "bought high" and lost jobs did not want to sell low.The June Existing Homes report revealed a record high average sales price for the month of June and sales levels comparable to June 2003. This was good news that mostly was ignored.

(July 27)
Thursday was a big day for economic data with the release of the weekly unemployment claims data and the monthly new home sales data. We saw "Seriously Low First-time Unemployment Claims" data released this Thursday. We had the lowest ever first-time claims level for the fourth week of July. The lowest level of first-time claims since 1969. Now back to the gossip and palace intrigue.

(July 27) New Home construction begets new home sales. Last week's new home construction data was solid. This week's new home sales data was also solid. If this data had been released during the prior administration the headlines would have been "Best June New Home Sales Since 2007." We saw more June units sold than during June 2008-June 2016. Some other salacious detail regarding Debbie Wasserman Schultz's IT team got some attention.  A shake-up and some infighting at the White House received more attention. A vote on the "ACHA" turned into the big "ACHE." Nothing in the media regarding how "New Home Sales are Strengthening."

(July 28) 
The Gross Domestic Product Report is the Ultimate Trailing Economic Indicator. The data released Friday was for the Advance Second Quarter GDP. Next month we will receive the Preliminary Second Quarter GDP and the next month the Final Second Quarter GDP. The Final GDP number isn't really the Final GDP number for that quarter because every year here is a revision to the revised data with the release of the Second Quarter Advance GDP report. Confused? When data from a prior quarter is revised lower that give a subsequent quarter a boost. When a prior year is revised higher that lowers the "pop" for subsequent quarters. "Second Quarter GDP: Revisions Abound" details how the data for 2014 and 2015 were revised higher, making the growth that barely happened during 2016 even less than originally reported.After two upward revisions to the 2017Q1 data the "final" Q1 data was revised downward. The 2.6% Annualized rate of growth was pessimistically written off as "not being 3.0%" The Real GDP Annual Growth rate of 2.1%, the best since the 4th quarter of 2015, was ignored. Growths in imports and exports - not only ignored - missing in action.

(July 29) The Week focused on Real Estate. The Week in Review for July 29  can be found here.

(July 31) The end of one month normally means that a forecast column for the upcoming Jobs Report. The article "Jumping July Jobs Forecast" projected the possibility for a jump in unemployment and a jump in full-time jobs, non-seasonally adjusted. It also warned that we needed to watch the data revisions - and boy, were there data revisions.