Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

Monday was part of the Labor Day Weekend, so this column took a day to "Grill and Chill." The week after the release of the Monthly Employment Situation Report tends to be a slow week for economic data. This is a good thing because it allowed the news to focus on Houston and Hurricane  Harvey and Florida and the impending Hurricane Irma. Just as was discussed with the jobs report data and the weekly unemployment claims data with regard to Harvey and Texas, the unemployment data for Florida will not probably hit until two weeks from now. The cut-off date for the September Employment Situation, Jobs Report, data collection is September 12th. We may or may not receive a double whammy with the impacts of Harvey and Irma being measured in the same report.


(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. 


The data is only data. The real stories are the people who are impacted by the devastating power of these hurricanes. The reason why this is called "Hurricane Season" is because hurricanes are created every year. Some months of the year they form more in the Gulf of Mexico than the Atlantic. Sometimes it is the opposite. Sometime the hurricanes form near the Cape Verde of Africa. People who live in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Louisiana are very aware of the regular Hurricane updates.


This column will continue to discuss the need for Economic Planning, Environmental Planning, Social Equity Planning, Emergency Planning, and Emergence Planning. We can reduce the impacts of these storms by reducing the number of target for hurricanes. If we cannot reduce the number of targets we can harden them. including power production and water/sewer treatment. We can also improve stormwater management. When all else fails we can identify those areas, and communities, that will be impacted the most and place emergency facilities in those neighborhoods. How many vacant big box stores can be re-purposed to emergency facilities, especially after being retrofitted and hardened? If we cannot mitigate the impacts of "seasonal storms," then we have to have an Emergence Plan: How will the community/region/state emerge from the devastation of a storm that may hit once every ten, twelve, or twenty five years? What role does the local government play? What role does the state government play? What role does the federal government play? What needs to be done to make sure that emergency storage of gasoline is in place so that people can evacuate a state as long as Florida?


Louisiana got a taste of a hurricane hitting the year before Katrina Hit. Houston experienced Allison before it experienced Harvey. Florida had the experiences of Matthew and Andrew before Irma started setting its sites on Miami, St. Petersburg, and Naples.  Insurance can be bought to cover almost any situation. They may not cover everything. They may not speed up the process of recovery. Look into flood insurance, named storm insurance, private flood insurance, and even mortgage insurance that covers you and you family if you lose your ability to earn a living to pay the mortgage. Obviously you need home owners insurance. Your lender will require insurance on the property if you have a mortgage.


"Preparation is the prerequisite of all planning." Professor Slughorn from "Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince."


It's the economy. Stay Safe.


The author of this article is not an insurance agent, nor has he ever sold insurance. This column is not a form of "financial advice." The author has never been a financial planner.