Reclaiming Common Sense

(May 1) This column "always" produces a jobs report forecast article prior to the monthly Employment Situation Report. One reason for this forecast column is to manage expectations. Another reason is to keep honest the people who are writing the column and for those reporting on the report. The article  "Big League April Jobs Report Potential" detailed how it was possible for the economy to add another one million non-seasonally adjusted jobs, how it could see a significant drop in the unemployment levels, most likely under 7 million for the first time in nearly a decade, and how the official "worker" number could grow by 200,000 to 300,000 seasonally adjusted workers.

(May 1) The first day of the month means a look back at the ten most read articles written on this website.The most read article of the month was the "Top Ten Articles of April" article. There were a number of articles regarding the jobs report that made the top ten including  the "Sector Report," the "Multiple Job Worker" report and  two articles regarding the ADP Jobs report.

(May 2) They still produce weekly unemployment claims reports. Who knew? What used to be the lead story at the bottom of the hour on Unemployment Claims Thursday is now relegated to the crawler at the bottom of the screen. The consecutive weeks of under 300,000 seasonally adjusted first-time claims continues and continues to be ignored. It took a few days. This column wrote an article on "Last Week's Unemployment Claims Remain(ing) Low" this week.

(May 3) This column has been skeptical of the importance of the ADP monthly report due to the situation where all of the data released is seasonally adjusted.  The data can prepare us for what we will find in the monthly Jobs Report that follows from the government. The April ADP Report Showed that Jobs Growth Continued.

(May 4) Thursday was the release of the unemployment claims report and the unemployment claims article. This column wrote an article focusing on the continuing claims number and discussed the first-time unemployment claims number, both of which were at record lows for this week in April - the final claims report for April first-time claims and the second to last report for continuing claims during the month of April. The April Continuing Claims Data was Amazing.

(May 5) This was Jobs Week. Friday's April Jobs Report Exceeded Expectations. We saw a near record level of combined non-seasonally adjusted full-time and part-time jobs created. Nearly 1 million jobs were created, again. We have the most jobs now than we have ever had. Unemployment dropped under 7 million to 6.555 million workers - a level lower than April 2006 and comparable to April 2007. Remember we had peak pre-recession employment during July 2007. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.10%. The only thing that was weak, non-seasonally adjusted, was the growth in the Current Employment Statistics worker number. It was reported as 211,000 "jobs," which was within the level of expectations. The seasonal factor was a little higher than projected. What was missing from most discussion was the significant drop in people working multiple jobs. Maybe some of the people who were working two part-time jobs during March found one full-time job during April.

(May 6) Saturday's see the release of the Week in Review Column. This week was Jobs week and the Month in Review

(May 9) Last week's Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report, spurs considerable analysis. "Five Presidents Month Three, Participation Matters" continues the tradition of the "Four Presidents at __ Months" series that started at month 81 of President Obama's term in office. President Trump has seen the largest drop in unemployment, the largest addition of full-time jobs, and the largest increase in participants during his first three months than Presidents Reagan, Clinton Bush 43, and Obama. What about James Comey?

(May 9) The Jobs report included data regarding job growth by sector. "Broad Based Jobs Surge during April"  reported that ten of eleven sectors added workers last month, six have fewer workers than they had during during July 2007, at the peak of the pre-recession jobs market, and that two sectors have fewer workers than April of 2009. What about the one man who was fired by the President?

(May 10) Memes have inspired articles and series for this column. One of the memes was the "War on Women."  The irony here is that men have suffered most during the Great Recession. The article "Men Recovered Full-time Jobs during April" caught he eyes of a Twitter Troll. The important things to note here are that the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) CPS (Current Population Survey Data) measures full-time and part-time jobs, that men had lost over 10 million full-time jobs, recovered them, and started losing jobs again last Summer, and that their participation rate has plummeted. They are recovering full-time jobs - they have not expanded their full-time job base this year, yet, they are participating more, and their real unemployment rate is being under-reported. But wait, Democrats who wanted Comey fired when he was picking on Hillary are dismayed that President Trump fired Comey.

(May 11) Another data point that receives little attention is the plight of the people who are working, or have to work, multiple jobs. The column "April Multiple Jobs, Down is Up" details that even though there are fewer people working multiple jobs during April than during March 2017, there are more people working multiple jobs during April 2017 than during April 2016.  Down was Up. Comey, Comey, Comey. Marsha, Marsh, Marsha.

(May 11) They still release the weekly unemployment claims report on Thursdays. We are still at 18 year lows (the lowest first-time unemployment claims and continuing claims level since 2000.) The article "How Low Can Unemployment Claims Go"  projects potential record lows for  the NSA FTU Claims level the week of Labor Day and record low levels for the First Week of October. They may be so low that mainstream media will have to report the recorded values. Look, Comey!

(May 12) Friday was a big release date for economic data. We saw the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report and data as well as the release of the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) report and data.The article "April CPI: Medical Care Services Taking a Bigger Chunk" details how the allocation of spending was significantly changes between April 2015, April 2016, and April 2017. The rate of inflation for Health Insurance was   2.7%. The allocation dropped from 2% of spending to 1%.  Medical Care Services saw an inflation of 3%. They say we spent 6% of our income on Medical Care Services last month. We spent less than 1% on Medical Care Services during April 2015 and April 2016. We are spending more and it is costing more.   Comey! Squirrel!

(May 12) Retail Sales are Stronger than Last April. Crickets. Maybe it is too challenging to analyze the data for some people. The data, in all fairness, was mixed. Sales dropped from March to April - this is "normal." Sales were up April 2016 to April 2017. Some sectors are seeing rolling years sales drop. Some have weaker sales during the first four months of this year compared to the first four months of 2016. There were significant revisions to the February and March Retail data. Overall the economy is growing faster during the first four month of this year compared to April of last year. "April Retail Down is Up - Revisions Up and Down" goes into the details. But wait, Comey, Nixonian, Watergate

(May 13) This week the Week in Review addressed the abundance of jobs data in the jobs report.

(May 16) The April New Construction Data is showing that activity is building momentum.  New home starts were the highest for April since 2007. The under construction data was the highest since 2007. The completions data was the highest since April 2007. We need other  people to start reporting this good news. We need this data to understand the economy. We need this activity to create jobs in construction, home and gardens, furniture, electronic and appliance, and other sectors of the economy. We also need this new construction activity to offset the existing home inventory shortage.

(May 17) We recently received the the April Jobs Report. This report provided data that revealed the best first three months of job creation since 1981 for two term Presidents. We were still shedding jobs  during President Obama's first twelve months in office. This column has produced articles regarding the official jobs and unemployment numbers, the "Five Presidents at Month Three" article, the "War on Men" column, and the Sector data. This week the analysis was by age group. "April's Aging Workforce, Working Longer" showed that there is some good news for those under the age  of 40. There was also some more data indicating that those over the age of 40 are having trouble finding work, or holding on to their jobs.

(May 18) They still release weekly unemployment claims data and weekly unemployment claims reports on Thursdays. This week we received first-time Unemployment Claims data, non-seasonally adjusted, and Continuing Claims data, non-seasonally adjusted, that we have not seen since the Summer of 1969, 1970, or 1971. Some people picked up on the data - others were talking about Comey again.These were generational lows for the month of May. What are we discussing? Rumors and innuendos.

(May 19) There has been considerable amounts of discussions regarding the "slowing" automobile market. The thing here is that the Motor Vehicle and Auto Parts (MVP) Sector literally, and figuratively, drives this economy. We have seen strong retail sales in the MVP sector of the retail market during January, February, March, and April were stronger than they were during 2016 when initially reported. The current discussion of how "weak" the automobile sector has been caused me to dust off my Automobile sector data set, update it, and examine the trends. The article "April Vehicle Sales Trucking Along" details that while April Automobile sales did drop from last year's level, and while automobile sales were slightly slower than April 2015 levels, light truck sales were virtually identical to last year's April record high, and April Light Truck sales outpaced those level of April 2015 by nearly 100,000 units. The shift from cars to trucks continues to motor. There is also some interesting data regarding Mexican and Canadian imports. Ah, NAFTA.

(May 20) Another week - another Week in Review

(May 22) The week started with a forecast column for the new home sales report and the existing home sales report. ""New, Existing Home Sales Should Continue to Boom" was anticipating strong new home sales with regard to units and price. It also projected solid existing home sales. There was some concern expressed that a relative excess of supply of new homes could put a downward pressure on the average sales price. There was also concern that an existing home shortage could hold back the number of units sold and drive the average sales prices higher than ever. It is back supply and demand.

(May 23)  The April New Home Sales report was a bit disappointing. The number of units sold did not increase, as expected, and the average sales price fell slightly from last year's record April level. "Disappointing April New Home Sales" details how, even though the monthly data was not as strong as it could have been, the data is revealing a strengthening market. This strengthening is based upon the current year data and the rolling year data.

(May 24) Existing home sales took a major hit during the Great Recession. The Great Recession was a Housing Recession, Jobs Recession, and Retail Recession rolled into one Gross Domestic Product Recession.  "Lowest April Existing Home Inventory since 1999" details how historically low inventory for the month of April  held back existing home sales. This is after historically low inventory for December, January, February, and March.The Current Year Existing Units Sold  and Running Year Units sold data are revealing a strengthening housing market. It may take a fewer more years, and some more inventory, to return to the pre-recession peaks we had during 2005 - we already have higher sales prices than at the sales price peak of 2006.

(May 25) We  received information this week that unemployment claims, first-time and continuing, while not at the low levels of last week are as low as we have seen during this time of year since 1971. "Unemployment  Claims Still Matter" details how the non-seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment claims and continuing claims data are at generational lows. It also details how the low level of continuing claims may impact the U-3 Unemployment numbers in the May Employment Situation Report. The "Jobs Report" will be released next Friday.

(May 26) There was considerable teeth gnashing last month when the "first read" of the First Quarter GDP came in at an annualized rate of 0.7%. Never mind that first quarter is normally the weakest quarter and that President Obama had two negative first quarters ( 2011, 2014.) The data was revised from 0.7% to a "preliminary" or "Second read" level of 1.2%. This was not the best in a decade - it was the fourth best. The Real GDP stayed at 2.0%. This was a top three level for the Real GDP. "First Quarter GDP Top 3 of Past Decade" goes into more detail.

(May 27 ) This Week in Review discussed other data other than the jobs data. Housing Matters.

(May 30) "Beware of the Jobs Data Revisions" is the first of two "Pre-jobs report" articles. This column details how President Obama's Jobs Streak ended during May 2016, how the preliminary and final May jobs numbers reflected this loss, how those loses remained under a "phantom revision," and how we need to pay attention to the growth rate of workers, the seasonal factors used to convert the non-seasonally adjusted data to the seasonally adjusted dat, and to the revisions to the March and April data.

(May 31)  This column has published many articles that reference the interconnectivity of the various reports. The unemployment data, when it drops, should be reflected in either more participation and more jobs, during an improving economy, or a drop in participation, as we saw during the majority of President Obama's time in office. Dropping unemployment because of dropping participation is not a good thing. This column has been discussing the drop in the weekly continuing claims number, non-seasonally adjusted, and the drop in the unemployment rate, and how it should impact the Jobs Report numbers. This column has been producing Jobs Report Forecast articles for years, The article "May Should Mean Job Creation and a Drop in Unemployment" details how Job creation doesn't necessarily mean we will see a drop in unemployment, most years unemployment rises during May as people look for jobs and cannot find them. It also details how May was projected to possibly be a huge full-time job addition month,