Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

This week was a relatively good week with regard to economic data. We received some information on first-time unemployment claims, retail sales, and inflation. It was also a week to complete some analysis on the August Jobs Report. It was also a busy week with regard to Hurricane Irma.


(Sep. 12)There are a number of ways to examine the data and a number of sources of data covering similar subject matter. There is some attention as to which sectors are adding jobs when the jobs report is released. This is the "30,000 foot perspective." There is data available at the state and city level. The impacts of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma will not be known for a while, at least through the eyes of the economic data. "Florida Employment, Pre-Irma (Part 1)" goes into detail as to why we probably won't see an impact in the September "Jobs Report."


(Sep. 12) The August Jobs Report was better than it was reported. It was better than August 2016, It was better than August 2015. We saw better NSA Private Sector Worker growth this year, from July to August, than the previous two years. What is missing in the analysis, elsewhere, is the situation where older workers are participating more than they were prior to the recession and younger workers are participating less than they were prior to the recession. "August's Aging Workforce" digs into the data and calculates the effective unemployment rate by age group.


(Sep. 14) Thursday is the usual day that the weekly unemployment claims data is released. What used to be "must see television" at the bottom of the hour, 8:30 A.M. Eastern Time, is now an oddity to be ignored. Last week we saw a spike in first-time claims being attributed to Hurricane Harvey. This week the changes in the unemployment claims data was attributed to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, even though the claims data was collected on Saturday and Hurricane Irma hit on Sunday. It was a "Seriously Whacked Unemployment Claims Report," especially considering that BOTH the first-time claims data and the continuing claims data FELL this week.Continuing Claims were lower during the week ending 9/9/2017 than they were during the week ending 9/12/1987.


(Sep. 14) The Monthly Jobs Report, also called the Employment Situation Report, includes "Super Sector Data."We have seen some of these sectors surge in workers since the recession and some sectors lag. The article "August Sector Data up over 2016 except One Sector" details the month to month and year to year changes.Four sectors have not recovered. Four other Sectors are surging.


(Sep. 15) There are many regular government reports this column addresses on a consistent basis.  One of them is the Jobs Report, One is the weekly unemployment claims report. Another regular report is the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) Report.  The seasonal factors change month to month and year to year. The weighting of "where we spend our money" changes from month to month and year to year. This month we saw a combination of Inflation and Deflation. Energy and Shelter Inflation are real.


(Sep. 15) Another regular report is the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) Report. Just like the media used to discuss the "Gasoline Stimulus" while gasoline prices were dropping during 2014 and 2015, even as we were experiencing "Tax Depression" as government revenues rose, the media is touting a "Retail Ice Age." Things did cool off during the recession. We had a Jobs Recession, a Housing Recession, and a Retail Recession rolled into the Great Recession where GDP dropped.  The Jobs Recession is Over - we have more full-time jobs and part-time jobs than we had prior to the GDP recession. Housing Recession is still in recovery mode for units sold, new or existing homes, even as sales prices surge to record or near record levels for the month. The Retail recession, as a whole, is over, We are selling more and more "stuff" every year. "August Retail: A $6 Trillion Economy" goes into considerable detail regarding the August MARTS Report. We are on track for our best retail sales year EVER - possibly six trillion dollars in total sales.


The take-away today is that there is "always" something happening with regard to the economic data. If we ignore the data we may not understand that the expansion of the economic has taken hold.


It's the economy.