Reclaiming Common Sense

 The May Jobs Report was released this past Friday, and by Saturday it was "old news." The report has a plethora of data behind it. Full-time jobs. Part-time Jobs. Men working. Women working. Multiple job workers. Data by sector. Data by Race. This column has addressed all of these topics during recent months and years.  The jobs report was weaker than projected, in some ways, and stronger in others. It was better than the May 2016 report, which was a stinker. We lost fewer part-time jobs than projected. We also gained fewer full-time jobs than projected. Unemployment ticked slightly higher. Participation remained steady because unemployed workers were replacing unemployment benefits with jobs. It was also ignored that President Trump has created more full-time jobs during his first four months than Presidents Reagan, Clinton, or Bush. Remember that President Obama was shedding jobs during his first year in office. President Trump has also overseen the largest drop in unemployed workers during his first four months in office compared to Reagan, Clinton, and Bush. President Obama oversaw a spike upwards in unemployed workers.

The 2012 election was ensconced in various dramas. The "Benghazi," "Mitt Romney's 47%," "Russia is not our Enemy," "GM Bankruptcy," and the "War on Women" dramas come to mind. The "War on Women" created discussions when candidate Fiorina made a comment that all the increases during one month were women. A meme started on the Internet and a series of articles was inspired. The FACT was that women are/were paid less than men. FACTs are false assertions considered to be true. The truth is that women work more part-time jobs than men. Women participate at a lower rate than men. Men work more full-time jobs than women.  They may get paid less in some jobs or sectors than men. The same could be said for men.

Men have recovered all of their lost full-time jobs, Again. Men lost over 10.6 million full-time jobs at the depth of the recession. They finally recovered all those lost jobs, and added some, last Summer, before they lost those jobs again.The gain is ever so slight at 30,000 full-time jobs. A major problem is that men have gained "only" part-time jobs since the recession and they have not added part-time jobs for years. Men have only added 2 million jobs for 10.9 million potential workers since July 2007.

Women lost fewer jobs, recovered faster, and have added more full-time and part-time jobs than men. Women "only" lost 3.8 million full-time jobs during the recession. They added part-time jobs and recovered full-time jobs by the Fall of 2014. They have added over 4 million jobs since July 2007, the peak of the pre-recession jobs market. Women have added 11.8 million workers since the Summer of 2007. Women have added more jobs and more workers than men.

Unemployment and participation has dropped for Men and Women since July 2007. Men are participating at a significantly lower rate than they were prior to the recession. Men were participating at a rate of 74.30% during July 2007. Men are now participating at a rate of 69.04%. This 5% drop in participating means that the official unemployment rate is under-reporting men unemployment by over 5%. We could have nearly 6.5 million more male workers working than we have right now. Women were participating at 59.70% during May 2007 - now they are participating at 54.95%. We could have 2.6 million more women working right now.Unemployment is down for both men and women since July 2007 - nearly 1 million fewer combined unemployed workers. The interesting thing to not is that there were 73,000 fewer men unemployed during May than April of this year while the number of women unemployed jumped up by 90,000.

The media has been discussing the U-6 Unemployment rate - What about the U-7? The U-6 unemployment rate includes the underemployed - those working part-time jobs that want full-time jobs, and those marginally attached the economy. This column created the U-7 standard to compare data from the same months from different years. Four percent unemployment with 59.70% participation (May 2007 Women) is not the same as 4% unemployment with 54.95% participation (May 2017.) Do we have a male unemployment rate of 10.83% or 4.04%? Do we have a female unemployment rate of 7.41% or 4.18%?

The recovery is "over" and the expansion has truly begun. We need full-time permanent jobs for people to be able to buy houses, new and existing, furnish them, fill them with electronics and appliances, buy new cars, and do other things that spur the economy to "force" employers to employ more workers, which in turn spurs the economy even more. All of the economic reports are inter-related. The Jobs Report is linked to the MARTS retail report, the New Home Construction report, the new home sales report, and the existing home sales report. Some jobs sectors, and some retail sectors, have not returned to pre-recession levels. This column will dig into the sector jobs data and the jobs by age data during the rest of this week. Later this month we will have the housing data, the MARTS data, and the inflation data.

It's the economy.