Reclaiming Common Sense

(Sep. 1) September first seemed to be more like April first this month. The "much anticipated" jobs report, the report that looked like it had the potential for a blockbuster "August after Election Spike" fell flat. "August Jobs Report Better than 2015, 2016" examined the data in more detail than the rest of the media. It was expected that we would have non-seasonally adjusted job losses, non-seasonally adjusted worker gains, non-seasonally adjusted drop in unemployment, and that when the drop in jobs were added to the drop in unemployment that there would be a drop in the non-seasonally adjusted participation rate. The forecast column got that part right. It was not anticipated that we would lose both full-time and part-time jobs, and that the seasonally adjusted jobs data would show net job losses. Don't worry, the Jobs Streak is still "alive" because it is based on the Current Employment Statistics data and not the Current Population Survey Data. The takeaways here are: We have a record level of full-time jobs for the month of August (NSA,) A record level of total full-time and part-time jobs for the month of August (NSA,) and that the NSA workforce participation rate is up for the second consecutive August. Also, the NSA CES private sector worker growth rate is up over July 2017 and August 2016.

(Sep. 2) The September 2nd Week in Review looked at the ADP jobs report, the GDP, the weekly unemployment claims and the status of the dual job worker market.

(Sep. 5) One of the most read columns of any particular month is the "Top Ten Articles of ____" article. It is a good place to catch-up on the Week in Review Articles, too. In addition to the Week in Review Articles for the weeks of August 5, August 12, August 19, and Aug 26, other "Top Ten  Articles of August"  included detailed analysis of the July Jobs Report, an article on the "Crazy" Low First-time Unemployment Claims level we had been experiencing prior to hurricane Harvey, and an article on the New Construction data.

(Sep. 6) How are we doing after seven months under President Trump as compared to the first Seven months under Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama?  The August Jobs report revealed that we have seen more non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) Current Employment Statistic Private Sector workers added during the first seven months of President Trump than any of these other Presidents. The NSA Current Population Survey Data revealed that President Trump has added more total jobs, full-time and part-time combined, than Presidents Bush or Obama. It also revealed that President Trump cut the unemployment levels more than  President Reagan, remembering that Presidents Bush and Obama saw unemployment surge during their first seven months. President Trump also oversaw a reduction in part-time jobs while Presidents Bush and Obama saw an increase in the number of people working part-time jobs.The article "Five Presidents after Seven Months" goes into more detail.

(Sep. 7) It was thought that we might see an increase in the number of people working multiple jobs during the month of August. We set a record for the number of people working two part-time jobs during the month of August during 2016. Would we see another record set this year? Not quite. The article "Multiple Job Workers Near Ten Year High" details how for the month of August we saw more dual part-time workers than we had during August of 2008, 2009, 2010, and the other August through 2015.The same could be said for people working two full-time jobs. The same could be said for people working two jobs period - Full-time and part-time, part-time and full-time, full-time and full-time, or part-time and part-time. This article proposes the idea that the surge seen last year was due to the 2016 elections.

(Sep. 7) This column has written a number of articles on the possible impacts to the economic data by Hurricane Harvey. It has forewarned readers that the impact of Harvey may not be recorded for weeks or months, due to the various collection dates of the various economic reports. The article "Hurricane Harvey Impacts First-time Claims Numbers" points out that the authors of the report noted that Harvey impacted the numbers. Virtually all of the spike in the NSA First-time Claims number was due to Harvey. The continuing claims data continued to fall this week because that data lags the first-time claims data by one week. This is probably literally, and figuratively, the first wave of first-time unemployment claims from Texas. Next up, the impacts from Irma.

(Sep. 8) The Employment Situation Report includes a cornucopia of data regarding changes in Super Sectors, changes in full-time and part-time jobs, changes in unemployment, and how these changes impact certain demographic groups. The impact of the Great Recession was absorbed more by men than women. There wasn't a "War on Women."There was a" War on Men." The article "Women at Peak Full-time Employment" details how men and women have added jobs since July 2007. It also details how the unemployment level for men and women are lower now than they were during July 2007. The problem is that job creation has not kept pace with worker creation and the effective unemployment level is elevated for both men and women. 

(Sep. 9) Week in Review

(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.

(Sep. 16) Week in Review

(Sep. 18) The week started with a forecast column for three upcoming reports regarding the housing market. "August Real Estate Forecast for Strength" examined the data for New Construction, New Home Sales, and Existing Home Sales" and saw the potential for good news across the board.

(Sep. 19) The first housing report was the new construction data. We had the best new home starts data for August since 2008. We had the best August data for new homes under construction since August 2008. We also had the best completions data since August 2008. "Strengthening August New Construction Data" goes onto more detail.

(Sep. 20) We have seen seriously low levels of existing home inventory since the end of last year. "August Existing Homes: On-track for 5.6 million" details how the Realtors Association is forecasting fewer sales than we had during 2016 and how this column is forecasting a higher value than 2016 and possibly more homes sold than were sold during 2002 - even with historically low inventory. It also details how the Average Sales Price set a record for the month of August.

(Sep. 21) Thursday is still the day that the weekly unemployment claims report s released. There has been considerable attention given to the plight if those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The authors of the weekly report somehow feel that people can receive unemployment benefits from losing their jobs prior to a hurricane's impact on land. We had "Shockingly Good Unemployment Claims Data" this week. The first-time claims were lower for the third week of September than they were for the third week of September during 1970, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.....up through 2015.We also have millions more workers eligible for benefits.

(Sep. 22) The Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report, receives a large amount of attention when it is released. Subsequent to the release of the jobs report there is data released at the state and local level. The discussion of the impact on the jobs market from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria can be measured via the economic data. The article "August, Texas, Jobs and Unemployment" examined the data that was collected prior to Hurricane Harvey impacted Texas. The data after Harvey made landfall  will not be received for another month. The jobs report will give a nationwide perspective just under two weeks from now. That report will cover the time after Harvey made landfall and before Irma hit.

(Sep. 23)Week in Review

(Sept. 26)There is going to be considerable focus on the monthly jobs reports, or Employment Situation Reports, as the impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria are observed.We have to understand what normally happens within Texas, Florida, or Puerto Rico month to month and year to year to understand the impact of the hurricanes. "Florida, August Jobs and Unemployment Pre-Irma"

(Sept. 26)
There are a number of reports which used to garner more attention than they do today. The New home sales report, the existing home sales report, and the weekly unemployment claims reports are three of those reports. The existing home data was released last week. The new home sales report for August was released this week. This month we set a record for the August New Home Average Sales Price and Median Sales Price. We saw the units sold just about match last year's level. This August was best than August 2008, August 2009, August 2010, through August 2015. Next month the data will probably be revised higher.

(Sept. 27)
Puerto Rico received a direct blow from Hurricane Irma. The impact on jobs and unemployment will not be measured next  week in the September Jobs Report because the storm hit September 26th and the collection date was September 12th. It is possible that we will see some impact in this report from Hurricane Harvey in the September Jobs Report. What hasn't been reported is that Puerto Rico had a fragile economy prior to Hurricane Irma.

(Sept. 28)  Yes, they still produce weekly unemployment claims reports. No, we are not seeing a huge spike in unemployment claims as a result of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, or Hurricane Maria. The authors of the report have been stating that we are seeing the impacts of Hurricane Harvey and Irma - does that mean that the recent drops in non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) first-time unemployment (FTU) claims and continuing claims (CC) mean that hurricanes are "beneficial?" "Strong September Weekly Unemployment Claims" details how the NSA FTU numbers have crept up from 211,000 to 212,000 to 215,000 claims during the past three weeks. Under 300,000 Seasonally Adjusted Claims a week is considered good. This column and its predecessors have detailed that the FACTs (False Assertions Considered to be true) include the reporting of the SA FTU data.  The Continuing Claims Data are equally as strong. We have fewer continuing claims data for the third week of September than we had during the third week of September 1971.

(Sep. 30) Week in Review