Reclaiming Common Sense

(March 3) The week started with the ADP Payroll Report Forecast article "Feb. ADP: Revisions and Strong Growth Expected." Some in the media were predicting a number well below 200,000 "because of the Wuhan Virus." This column was looking for month to month growth in all sectors except mining and logging and February to February growth in all sectors except Trade, Transportation and Utilities (TTU.) It was thought that a number between 240,000 and 260,000 new payroll positions was possible this month.

(March 4) Wednesday we saw the release of the ADP Payroll report. "Feb. ADP: Cure for the Wuhan Virus" was asking whether or not a strong ADP Payroll number would boost he market and bump the Wuhan Virus from the headlines for a day or even an hour. Last month the Current Employment Statistics data was revised. This month the ADP data was revised back to 2003. This changed everything. The headline number was 183,000. This was better than the revised 2019 data of 153,000 positions. It was interesting that there were month to month and February to February declines in M/L, Manufacturing, and IT.

(March 5) Thursday we saw Weekly Unemployment Claims history ignored. We had our 260th consecutive week with the Seasonally Adjusted First-time Unemployment claims data reported under 300,000 claims. The  article "Five Straight Years First-time Claims Under 300,000" discusses the 150th consecutive week than the Continuing claims data has been reported under 2.0 Million, and the low issuance rates for first-time claims and continuing claims.

(March 5) This column has been writing Employment Situation Forecast Articles for years. This article "Feb. Jobs Report: COVID-19 Proof" was written the day before the release of the report. The forecast report takes into account the CES Workers and Wages data and the CPS Jobs and Unemployment Data. This data was collected before the Wuhan Virus Mania kicked into overdrive. It was expected that we would see private sector data data would be strong and that the Government Sector data would boost the Non-Farm Payroll data.  The month to month growth was projecting between 209,000 and 312,000 private sector workers joining the workforce. The annual data was pointing between 186,000 and 340,000 workers being added during February. The overlap indicated that 250,000 was very possible, depending on the seasonal factors and the revisions. Last year the seasonal factors turned a strong Non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) number into a weak seasonally adjusted (SA) number.

(March 6)  The February Jobs Report was remarkable. This is not a rear-view mirror jobs report, as some in the Legacy Media were stating. This is forward looking. Unemployment remained at near historic lows. Worker growth was recorded, non-seasonally adjusted, February to February in all sectors. Month to month growth was recorded in all sectors except Mining and Logging. There were 444,000 NSA private sector workers added. This means that 228,000 SA CES private sector workers were added. It could have been reported higher. "Feb. Jobs Report: Up Big League" explains how we have the lowest February U-3 Unemployment level since February 1979 and the Lowest February Unemployment Rate since February 1967. The February Participation Rate is the Highest Since February 2012 with Unemployment dramatically lower than it was then. February 2012: Participation 63.57% Unemployment 8.71%. This month we had a Participation Rate of 63.26% and an unemployment rate of 3.79%. This was ignored.

(March 7) This week was "Jobs Week" with the release of the January ADP Private Sector Payroll Report, the January Employment Situation Report and the Weekly Unemployment Claims Report.  The Legacy Media was focused on the Coronavirus, or the Wuhan Virus, which is 98% contained to China, and the tumbling Stock Market that appears to have been created by the Legacy Media's Coverage of the Wuhan Virus. There were 102,469 Cases Worldwide 80,651 China (78.71%) 327 in USA (0.032%), with Deaths Worldwide at 3491 China 3069 (87.91%), and Recoveries at  57,436 (56.05%). This was all detailed in "March 7 Week in Review: Springing Forward."

(March 10) This week started where last week ended with looking into the Jobs Report data. "Record Feb. Wages and Workers" examined the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data for workers, wages, and hours worked.  The Best February Ever for all but Manufacturing and Information Technology (with regard to workers) must be worth some discussion.

(March 10)  Next  up was the monthly comparison of President Trump with former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama. This installment, "Five Presidents at 37 Months: All Sectors Up" examined the CES data and the Current Population Survey (CPS) data after 37 months in office. President Trump was the only President to add workers in all sectors. President Clinton added workers in all sectors except Mining and Logging. President Trump has added more full-time jobs than the prior Presidents, combined or separately.

(March 11) Next week we will receive the monthly Retail Report. Pundits will say that this is backwards looking. "All" reports are backwards looking.  "Feb. Retail Sales Forecast: Woohoo before Wuhan" was written a little early in an effort to get people to realize that the first quarter activity is mostly in the books. Retail sales normally spike during March as some people get tax refund money in their accounts. First Quarter will not be negative. A recession is two back to back negative growth, quarter to quarter GDP, quarters. This report projects strong February to February growth.

(March 12) Inflation is important. Wages are growing faster than inflation. That is a good thing. What are the talking heads discussing? Deflation. We had it during 2009 and 2015. The energy deflation of 2015 was called a "Gasoline Stimulus." Now they are talking about how it could impact frackers. "Feb. CPI: Low Inflation, Low Unemployment" looked at Shelter Inflation, Commodity  Deflation, and Service Inflation.

(March 12)  Five years ago we saw the start of the "Seasonally Adjusted First-time Claims Streak" for first-time claims being reported under 300,000 claims. The federal government stopped keeping track of the streak shortly after the 2016 election. It continues to this day, stronger than ever. We almost had a seasonally adjusted claims week of 200,000. "261st Consecutive Week with Seasonally Adjusted First Time Claims Under 300k" goes into the detail, and how the first-time claims issuance rate is the lowest ever for the first week of March. The Continuing Claims streak continues, too, at 151 weeks.

(March 14) Friday was spent researching three reports: The New Home Construction Report, the New Home Sales Report, and the Existing Home Sales Report, all for February. This data was also collected generated prior to the Wuhan Virus. "Feb. Real Estate Forecast: Wuhan Virus-Proof" details how new home construction, new home sales, and existing home sales start their annual acceleration during February. They should have all been unimpacted by the Wuhan Virus. We should see February records for new home and existing home average sales prices.

(March 14) This week was epitomized by two topics: Stock Market Volatility and the Wuhan Virus. The virus started in the Wuhan Province of China. It is not racists to call it the Wuhan Virus or the Chinese Coronavirus or COVID-19. The stock market had its largest one day point drop followed by its largest one day point gain. All of this obfuscated the good news regarding low inflation and record low first-time claims. It also allowed some further digging into the February jobs Report data and some looking forward to the release of the February MARTS retail report and the release of the February New Home Construction, New Home Sales, and Existing Home Sales data.This Week's data for the  Wuhan Virus: 145,377 Cases Worldwide 80,973 China, 2,174 in USA, Deaths Worldwide 5429 China 3193, USA 47,
Recovered 71,715, Net Cases 68,233. This was covered in the article "March 14 Week in Review: Stay Calm."

(March 17)  The first article of the week relayed positive information from the February Retail Sales Report. "Feb. Retail Sales: Some Good News" examined the month to month and February to February Changes. A week ago this column projected that month to month sales would decline and that February to February sales would accelerate. We had another record February. All sectors grew sales February to February, non-seasonally adjusted, and only Electronics and Appliance Sales (EAS) dropped seasonally adjusted from its February 2019 Level, and that was a drop of $79 million on $8.1 billion in sales last February. The media focused on the seasonally adjusted month to month decline that happens "every" February. Good news was ignored.

(March 18)  Wednesday we received the "much anticipated" New Construction Report. New Home Starts and Units Under Construction were at February Levels not seen since 2007. The Completions data was almost identical to last February and both were better than the February 2007 data. "Huge Feb.New Construction Report (Ignored)" could have easily been titled "New Construction Starts up 20.52% Year to Date." Good news was dismissed as "rear looking."

(March 19) There was a spike in First-time Unemployment claims. This received major headlines. Meanwhile, the Legacy Media Ignored the Five Year Anniversary of the Seasonally Adjusted First-time Unemployment Claims Streak.  What's the big deal? It's just 262 consecutive weeks where the seasonally adjusted first time claims have been reported under 300,000 claims. It's only been 152 consecutive weeks where we had the seasonally adjusted continuing claims reported below 2 million claims. The insured Unemployment rate was the lowest for the first week of March - EVER. The article "Jobless Claims Remain Under 300,000 in Face of Wuhan Virus" includes links to articles regarding expected future surges in weekly claims from multiple states in the country.

(March 20)  The Existing Home Sales Market is an economic multiplier, much like the new home construction market and the new home sales market. The February Existing Home Sales Report from the REALTORS included information regarding a record February average Sales Price, the best February monthly existing home sales recorded since February 2007, and improving inventory. "February Existing Homes: Can't Be Held Down" explains how this was a remarkable report. It, too, was mostly ignored, in favor of market volatility and the Wuhan Virus.

(March 21)
This week was epitomized by two topics: Stock Market Volatility and the Wuhan Virus. The virus started in the Wuhan China. It is not racist to call it the Wuhan Virus or the Chinese Coronavirus or COVID-19. If this sounds familiar, it is. The Wuhan Virus has been a part of this column for well over a month. We had data on February Retail Sales, February New Construction, and February New Home sales that should have knocked either the Wuhan Virus or the Stock Market Volatility out of the headlines for a few hours. "March 21 Week in Review: Strong Pre-Wuhan Data" co Speaking of the Wuhan Virus, the data continues to be collected. There appear to be some existing medications that shorten the length of the Wuhan Virus and the severity of the symptoms. This may be a short, painful, period of turmoil.  The  Wuhan Virus data stood at 278,136 Cases Worldwide 81,250 in China, 19,624 in the USA 47,021in  Italy. USA 60/M Italy 777/M
China Deaths 3,253 USA Deaths 260 (0.79/M) Italy 4032 (67/M) Recovered 89,259 Net Cases 188,877.

(March 23)  The week started with an article on the Wuhan Virus. "36,000,000 Versus 2,174" referenced the difference between the number of US cases of the Annual flu this year versus the total cases of Wuhan Flue in the United States as of March 14, 2020. This data was chosen because it was the most recent date of the CDC report of the annual flu.

(March 24)  The media has been ignoring or dismissing the economic data released this month, covering the month of February, as "rear looking' or "BC," Before Coronavirus. One report that should have received high praise this week was the February New Home Sales Data. New Home Construction and New Home Sales are indicative of a growing economy. "Feb. New Home Sales Soar BC" highlighted the best new home market during the month of February since February 2007. We saw a spike in new home sales and an all-time average sales price record set.

(March 26) It took the worst first-time claims data in history in order to get the weekly first-time claims data back into the news.  "Historic First-time Claims" reported on how the consecutive weeks under 300,000 seasonally adjusted claims streak crashed and burned after 262 consecutive weeks. It compared this week's 2.8M non-seasonally adjusted first-time claims with data from 2008-2009 and 1981-1982. It could have also been compared with data from 2009-2010 during the Swine Flu Crisis. It also called to attention the rarely mentioned Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR) which compares the number of continuing claims with the number of covered insured. This data will spike next week. Even so, the NSA IUR should remain below the peak of the Great Recession

(March 26)  Buried with the news regarding the huge unemployment claims data was news that the final revision to the fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was released. This was the "final" revision of the fourth quarter GDP until next Summer when the annual revision takes place. "Final Fourth Quarter GDP Steady at 2.1%" details how the seasonally adjusted annualized GDP is 2.1%, the same quarter GDP is at 2.3%, and the annual rate for 2019 was also 2.3%. It was curious that the Personal Consumption Expenditures grew at just 1.7% quarter to quarter. This doesn't match the seasonally adjusted MARTS retail data. It is also a slower growth than the rate of inflation. This article also explains how we could have our a very strong first quarter GDP, based on New Home Construction, New Home Sales, Existing Home Sales, and Retail sales all outpacing where we were after two months during 2019 (Schumer Shutdown Numbers.) It also explains how the Jobs Number may not reflect the end of the month jobs and unemployment data because the data should have been collected BC.

(March 28) This week was epitomized by two topics, again: Stock Market Volatility and the Wuhan Virus. The virus started in the Wuhan China. It is not racist to call it the Wuhan Virus or the Chinese Coronavirus or COVID-19. If this sounds familiar, it is. The Wuhan Virus has been a part of this column for well over a month. This week we received remarkably good new home sales data. This week we received remarkably bad first-time claims data. We also received the third reading on Fourth Quarter GDP.  We also received not one, not two, but three Congressional Coronavirus Stimulus packages. Their motto should be ""Nullum discrimen desertam." Let no crisis go to waste.Speaking of the Wuhan Virus, the data continues to be collected. There appear to be some existing medications that shorten the length of the Wuhan Virus and the severity of the symptoms. This may  e a short, painful, period of turmoil. All treatments with new/existing drugs should be done under physician supervision. This morning (SATURDAY) the Wuhan Virus data stood at: 607,965 Cases Worldwide 81,996 China, 104,837 USA 86,498 Italy, China 57 cases /Million USA 320/M Italy 1430/M, China Deaths 3,299(2/M) USA Deaths 1711 (5.2/M) Italy 9134 (151/M) Recovered 132,688, Net Cases 475,277 This was covered in "March 28 Week in Review: Remarkable Data."

(March 30) This week began like most "Jobs Report Weeks." The data for the March ADP Private Sector Payroll Report should have been collected prior to the March 21st Spike in unemployment claims. "March ADP Forecast: BC Strength" was looking for growth in all sectors month to month and March t March, Before the Coronavirus (BC.)

(March 30) A second article was published on Monday. There were many items to cover this month. the monthly Multiple Job Worker/Men and Women article was delayed until the final days of the month. The article "Record Feb. for Men, Women, Multiple Job Workers" looked at the Current Population Survey data from February, BC, and found it to be an excellent month.

(March 31) The month ended with the forecast for the March Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report. This data should have been collected BC. "March Jobs Report Forecast: Marching Higher" examined the Current Population Survey Jobs and Unemployment data. It also examined the Current Employment Statistics Worker and Wages data. This March all of the data appeared to be in sync. Workers were expected to rise in all sectors except Mining and Logging. Participation was expected to rise as unemployment fell. A huge surge in full-time jobs was expected. There was a slight uptick in the weekly claims data for March 14th. The big spike happened March 21st, well after the data was collected for the March Jobs Report.   The March ADP Private Sector Payroll Report and the Non-Farm Payroll Worker Levels were expected to be dismissed as "BC,: