Ho Ho Hiring


This month is a prime month for seasonal hiring. We should see hiring in the food and beverage retail sector, the Leisure and Hospitality sector, and the trade, transportation and utility sector. We may even see a surge in hiring in the construction sector as people push to finish construction and sales prior to the end of the year and as people work on recovering from this year's hurricane damage. November is a month where we see a surge in part-time jobs, a drop in full-time jobs, and a surge in the number of workers working a primary part-time job and a secondary part-time job. There is the possibility of an uptick in unemployment as the number of full-time jobs drop. We are approaching the fewest number of unemployed workers for the month of November. We could increase from last month's level and still have the lowest level of unemployed workers during the month of November since 2000.


A Tale of Two Data Sets. The Jobs reported is a synthesis of two data sets: The Current Population Survey (CPS) and the the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data sets. The CPS data measures the number of full-time jobs, the number of part-time jobs, the number of unemployed workers, and the workforce population. Each component has a seasonally adjusted (SA) component and a non-seasonally adjusted components, other than the workforce population. The seasonal factors change by category, month, season, and year. The CES data set measures the number of workers. The headline number is the non-farm payroll number. The number that the White House lived to report was the private sector worker number. The other headline number is the non-farm payroll (NFP)number. The NFP number includes government workers while the private sector number does not. The CES data has an SA and a NSA component that changes month to month, season to season, and year to year. The important things to note are the growth rates, the revisions, and the seasonal factors.


November normally means a growth in workers. Last month we saw the second best September to October worker growth rate since 1980. The question is will we see back to back growth rates that are comparable? Will this be the second best November on record? Originally it was reported that there was a drop in seasonally adjusted workers during September that was revised to a gain last month with the first revisions to the September data. The upward revisions to the September data meant that the October jump was reduced by an equal amount. President Trump has overseen the addition of the most NSA private sector workers since, and including, President Reagan. He has also overseen the addition of the most full-time jobs during his first nine months than Presidents Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43, and  Obama. The economy is larger now than it was during the 1980s and 1990s. This is why growth rates matter. If we grow at a rate comparable to 2013 or 2014 we could see the addition of 250,000 to 300,000 seasonally adjusted workers.


The "Devil" is in the seasonal factors. The seasonal factors have been creeping higher since 2010. If we grow as we did during 2013, a post-election year, and use last year's seasonal factor then we could see over 300,000 SA CES private sector workers added. Could we grow as we did during 2005, another post-election year? We could see 318,000 SA CES workers added. Expect a number around 250,000 SA CES workers reported as being added.


We could see the number of non-seasonally adjusted jobs fall. Normally we see  part-time jobs rise and full-time jobs drop. Companies are going out of business or seasonal work is fading. That said we see part-time jobs surge because people are needed in retail, leisure and hospitality, and in mail and delivery services.  It is possible, not probable, that we could see an increase in NSA FT and NSA PT jobs as we did during November 2013.


We should still report seasonally adjusted jobs increasing, if they are reported at all. We saw SA and NSA Job losses during November of 2008  and November 2010. This is important because the seasonally adjusted data is used to calculate the workforce participation rate - a number that came into vogue during 2008 and was closely reported during 2012.


Unemployment normally bottoms during either October or November. The official definition used for the U-3 unemployment number is that a person is out of work and looking for a job. Other metrics include those who are working part-time jobs that want full-time jobs or those who are unemployed that have given up looking for work. Last month we had 6.2 million unemployed workers - this is lower than the lowest November level going back to 2000. The continuing claims data this month is 100,000 claims higher than the same period during October for the week closest to the collection date for the data. This was also 140,000 claims lower than November of last year. The data is also significantly lower for the weekly continuing claims data than it was during November 2000 and November 2003. Expect the number to drop.The NSA U3 number has dropped each November from 2011 through 2016. The SA U3 number has dropped or increased only slightly.


The Number of Multiple Job Workers tends to peak during either November or December. Some people are participating more than others. This means that the net jobs could improve and be absorbed by people already in the workforce. Could we seen an increase in MJH to over 8 million? it is possible. Will it exceed last year's 8.3 million NSA MJH? Maybe. 


The net takeaway here is that we should anticipate good news. The number of workers should increase at a rate equal to or greater than what we have seen during the past four years as economic momentum continues to build. We could see the number of full-time jobs increase, non-seasonally adjusted. We are more likely to see the NSA full-time jobs decrease and the NSA PT jobs increase from the October levels. Unemployment can go either way. November unemployment tended to increase prior to the Great Recession and have declined during November after the recession. The trend for the total number multiple job holders has been increasing for any given month since August 2010. We may have peaked at 8.3 million multiple job workers last November. We might see another surge this year as companies use the holidays to train seasonal workers and convert them to full-time workers or permanent workers.






Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense