Reclaiming Common Sense


(Sep.3) The August gust Jobs Report, or Employment Situation Report, forecast article was written after looking at the potential for the August ADP Private Sector Payroll report. There were concerns expressed about the potential for a low month to month growth rate for the Current Employment Statistics (CES) worker data. There was also concern that this would be a battle of two data sets with the Current Population Survey (CPS) jobs and unemployment data. It was thought that the CES data would be fairly strong, even if it slowed a little, and the CPS data would show its normal annual weakness, except for unemployment level, which would drop, showing strength. "August Jobs Report Forecast: Looking Up" also discussed other metrics, including the multiple job holder data.

(Sep. 5) The monthly ADP Payroll report was delayed one day by the Labor Day holiday. Thursday morning included the release of the ADP report at 8:15 AM followed by the Weekly Unemployment Claims data at 8:30 AM. The month to month growth rate was slightly higher than expected, which in turn boosted the annual growth rate. "August ADP: Remarkable" examined the sector data and the total payroll number. The net growth was 195,000 payroll positions. This did not include government positions.

(Sep. 5)  The weekly unemployment claims report includes information on the first-time claims data, the continuing claims data, and the insured unemployment rate.  The media has been actively ignoring this report. Did you know that this was the sixteenth week with the first-time unemployment claims data recorded under 200,000 claims, non-seasonally adjusted?

(Sep. 6)  The expectations for the August Jobs Report were bolstered after the release of the ADP report. It would be an understatement to say that the workers data, the headline data, was weaker than expected and that the Jobs and Unemployment data was better than expected. We have had the "Tale of Two Data Sets" all year long. September is one of the main months that the "jobs" data is seasonally adjusted. January and September are normally terrible months for the CES worker data, non-seasonally adjusted. February can be huge, borderline unbelievable. "August Jobs Report Reveals Record August Jobs Level" references the CPS jobs data. August was simultaneously one of the weakest September CES worker months since 1979, and one of the better CPS jobs and unemployment months since 1979. We have the best August Unemployment Rates since 1969, and a higher participation rate than we have had since August of 2013.

(Sep. 7) The article "Sep. 7 Week in Review: Remarkable jobs data" reported that we received confirmation that the economy is still in expansion mode and not in a recession. "All" recessions are jobs recessions, CPS jobs.  We have 2.2 million more full-time jobs and 96,000 more part-time jobs than we did during August of 2018.  We had the lowest Insured unemployment rate for the fifth week of August ever. We will receive the July JOLTS Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey this upcoming week. Comparisons will be made between the JOLTS data and the CES data. They might as well compare the JOLTS data to the weekly continuing claims data. In other words, you cannot compare different data sets with different seasonal factors, which measure different things.

(Sep. 9) The August ADP Private Sector Payroll Report surprised to the high side. The August Non-farm Payroll Number disappointed most in the media. There was month to month growth in all but three sectors: Leisure and Hospitality (LAH,) Other Services (OS,) and Mining and Logging (M/L.) The decline in LAH and OS were anticipated.There was August to August growth in all sectors. This was expected.  Every sector saw August to August to wage growth. All of this is covered in "Aug. to Aug. Worker Growth in all Sectors."

(Sep. 9)  There has been a considerable discussion about the addition of jobs under President Trump during his first 31 months in office and Former President Obama's final three years. Last year it was President Trump's first 24 months and former President Obama's final two years. (Hint: That comparison was being made during October, during month 21 for President Trump. President Trump won the 24 vs 24 comparison.)  How is President Trump doing compared to former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama at the 31 months mark?  "Five Presidents at 31 Months: Full-time versus Total Jobs" reminds up that at 31 months in office  former President Obama had lost a net 100,000 jobs. Compare that to 7.3 million more jobs created by President Trump.

(Sep. 10) The job report includes information on the full-time, part-time and unemployment status of men and women. The article "Women Winning 2019 Jobs Race" details how there are more men working than during any other August,  there are more women working this August than during any other prior August, and how participation is still down for men and women compared to August 2007. Men

(Sep. 11) We saw record July levels of Hires, Quits, and total separations. The "headline" number is the job openings level. Last year we had 7.772 million job openings. This year we only had 7.471 million. The most job openings were in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (TTU,) Education and Health Services (EHS) Professional Business Services (PBS,) and Leisure and Hospitality (LAH.) We almost had a record level of July Job Openings. The article "July JOLTS Report: Record July Levels of Quits and Separations" also discusses that the four sectors with the most Hires, Quits, and total Separations are the same as those with the most Job Openings.

(Sep. 12)  This week we saw the seventeenth week with non-seasonally adjusted first-time claims under 200,000. The NSA FTU fell to 159,282 claims. That is correct. One Hundred and fifty nine thousand two hundred and eighty two claims. This is the seventeenth week of NSA FTU claims under 200,000 claims. What else was recorded, non-seasonally adjusted, and what was reported, seasonally adjusted regarding first-time claims, continuing claims, and the Insured Unemployment Rate this week? All three topics are covered in "Seventeenth Week with First-time Unemployment Claims Under 200,000."

(Sep. 13) There has been considerable noise that the Trade War with China would lead to increased costs for Americans. The things that have been ignored for an extended period of time is that we have had commodity deflation and service inflation for an extended period of time.  The article "What Tariff Inflation" explains that Shelter Inflation accounts for almost all of the inflation we are experiencing, that Energy Deflation (formerly called a Gasoline Stimulus under the Obama Administration) is reducing overall inflation, and that the "threat of deflation" is being oversold by the mainstream media.

(Sep. 13)  The Retail Sales numbers have been showing improvement just as prognosticators are proclaiming the imminent recession. Some of these savants are the same ones who were promoting the never ending recession that would ensue if Donald Trump was elected President. There are many ways to examine the sales data. This column uses the current year data, the trailing year(rolling year) data, and the same month data. The article "August Retail Surprise: 4.20% Same Month Growth" examined all of the data and found that the retail economy is on the upswing, seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted. This month was our sixth consecutive month with more than $500 billion in retail sales. Last year we had eight months. We could exceed $600 billion for a month for the first time ever this December.

(Sep. 14) The article "Sep. 14 Week in Review: Economic Bounce" started where last week ended. This column writes numerous articles on the topic of the monthly Jobs Report, or Employment Situation Report. The first three articles of the month focused on the Jobs Report. This week we received the July Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, and the MARTS Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey report. Why were they virtually ignored? Oh, and an outstanding weekly unemployment claims was released, or something, on Thursday. There was only some much time in the week to cover all the data that was released this week. The Monthly Treasury Report that caused consternation in the mainstream media was delayed until the following week.

(Sep. 16) The week started with picking up where last week ended: The Monthly Treasury Report. "August Treasury Report: On-Budget, Off-Budget Revenue Up" took a different approach than most of the reports in the news. Corporate Revenue and Individual Revenue both rose compared to last August, as did on-budget and off-budget revenue. What was missed elsewhere was that some spending that normally happens during September was pushed into August, just as it was last year. The "Trillion dollar deficit" should drop as we could run a $120 billion surplus during September.

(Sep. 16)  The real estate industry is an economic multiplier. Real estate sales stimulate retail sales and hiring. "August Real Estate Forecast: Building Momentum projected possibilities for the New Home Construction data, the New Home Sales data, and the Existing Home Sales data.

(Sep. 18)  Wednesday's August New Construction Report caught people of surprise if they had not read the forecast article published on this website. "August New Construction: Jumps in Starts, Units Under Construction, and Completions." We have had our best new construction year since 2007. We had our most completions during any month since December 2007.

(Sep. 19) The weekly unemployment claims data has been basically ignored since 2016. The normal headline first-time claims number was ignored, The continuing claims data was ignored "as always." The Insured unemployment rate fell to 1.01%. All of this is covered in "Eighteenth Week with First-time Claims Under 200k, Again." We are set to challenge last year's 21 week mark.

(Sep. 21) Thursday also included the August Existing Home Sales report. Some things happened that changed the narrative. June was a weaker than expected month, which meant that the annualized rate of sales was weaker than expected. July was strong than expected, boosting the annualized sales level where it normally would decline. This happened during August, too. The rare Saturday article "New August Existing Home Average Sales Price Record" examines the units sold data, average sales price data, and inventory data."

(Sep. 21) The third week in review for September "Sep. 21 Week in Review: Housing Strength" recounted how we received remarkable information regarding government revenue, new construction, existing home sales, unemployment claims data, and it is all pointing towards a continuing expansion. It also commented on how reports on the data that is generated by the government or by the REALTORS are not as sexy as the Trade Negotiations with China, Biden Gaffes, Democrats dropping out of the Presidential Race, the roller coasters of the stock markets, plural, or some random tweet.

(Sep. 25) The August New Home Sales data was remarkable. Units sold spiked. An all-time Average Sales Price Record was set. We are on track for our best new home sales year since 2007. "August New Home Sales Best Since 2007" tells you what you might not have heard.

(Sep. 26)  First-time claims were recorded under 200,000 claims, non-seasonally adjusted. Continuing Claims fell under 1.4 million, to a level only beaten since November 24, 1973 by one week last year during the first week of October. The insured unemployment rate fell to 0.97%, only beaten by the first week of October 2018 level of 0.95%. First-time claims data and continuing claims data will be the first sign of a slowing economy. Some are concerned that the first-time claims datum is slightly higher than the same week last year. That will happen when you have 2 million more covered insured. "Nineteenth Week with First-time Unemployment Claims under 200,000" explains just how good the unemployment data is.

(Sep.28) The Affordable Care Act was passed in an attempt to lower premiums and a higher percentage of people covered by health insurance. Premiums have risen. Deductible have risen. The percentage of employer provided health care coverage has fallen. Employees are carrying a higher burden of their employer provided benefits than they were carrying prior to the passage of the ACA. "Kaiser Study: Single Coverage Versus Family Coverage" explains it.

(Sep. 28) The article "Sep. 28 Week in Review: Healthy Data" concluded by stating that the "data that we have been receiving this month have been remarkable. New home sales spiked. An all-time average sales price for new homes was set. Inventory is stable. Weekly unemployment claims are trending lower and are ahead of pace to set a record number of weeks under 200,000 claims, non-seasonally adjusted. There is some stabilization in the employee covered percentages, mostly having to do with an elevated level of full-time jobs. The economy is doing well."