Reclaiming Common Sense

The number of workers 40-54 years old is is Down from 2016, 2012, 2007. We have been seeing a while in the job market for those between the age of 40-54 for months, if not for years. The Employed Worker Table, and the others that follow, highlight the data from 2007, the peak year of the pre-recession market, 2012, five years later, and January 2017. The data is display in five year intervals. In theory the people who are in the 40-44 year group will be the same people in the 45-49 year group five years later and the 45-49 year age group five years after that. Age shift is something that has to be factored into the age analysis. There has been a huge drop in employed workers between the age of 45-49 during the class of 2007. The same can be said for those 40-44 years of age during January 2007 and even more so for those 50-54. Was the Great Recession the Great Retirement Plan for the Great Pink Slip for those over 50?

The workforce population dropped Last Month for all age groups except those 70-74 years of age. If you look at the data for those 40-59 years of age, the number of workers have been decreasing for the class of 2007for those 40-45 years of age. Other examples could be found. What is interesting is that he workforce population dropped from last year for those 20-24 years old., as well as those for 40-44 years old, 50-54, and 55-59 years old.

The Number of Unemployed Workers is up Compared to January 2007, December 2016. This is okay because we have added jobs since 2007. The value of the unemployment rate is the fraction of the workforce participants who are unemployed (Urate= U3/(U3+PT+FT.) The number of unemployed workers was rising from 2007-2012 for "all" ages. There was some year to year fluctuation for various age groups.The peak unemployment levels were recorded during January 2010. We saw unemployment spike month to month last month for every age group except those 50-54 years old (-18,000) and 75 years and older (-23,000.) The largest real number spike was for those 20-24 years of age (+198,000) and 30-34 years old (+160,000.)

What the Great Recession the Great Retirement or the Great Pink Slip?

The January Jobs Report revealed a drop in the workforce population of 660,000 workers and a drop in both the number of non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) Full-time Workers and a drop in NSA Part-time workers, totaling 1.271 million jobs.  People who are employed or unemployed are participants in the economy.  It is possible that if you add in the missing participants, those who are not employed and are not officially unemployed, that the U-7 unemployment rate is over 9.98% and could be as high as 12.62%. That same report had data that revealed that five sectors are not back to pre-recession job levels. The Mining/Logging, Construction, Information, Manufacturing and Government Sectors have fewer jobs than they had nine years ago. An even more daunting situation is that  "The Forgotten Male Worker" has seen only 177,000 jobs created for an additional 10.559 million male workers added to the workforce since July 2007. This column also detailed in the article "January's Multiple Job Economy" that even though we lost over 1.2 million jobs during January 2016 that we are at a near record levels of people working two jobs, a near  record level of people working two part-time jobs, and a near record level of people working two full-time jobs for the month of January.

The rest of the media has forgotten that the jobs report was released last Friday. They have moved on to the topic of the day. There are obvious many ways to report the Jobs report data. Another staple of analysis is the jobs by age group analysis. 

Is participation really dropping because people are retiring? No. The participation rate during January 2017 was lower than January 2012 and January 2007 for those 30-54 years of age. This is the prime working age group. We have a higher participation rate for those 55 and old since January 2007.You cannot average percentages across different age groups because of the differences in population sizes. The class of 2007 is seeing dramatic decreases in participation for those who were 35-39, 40-44, and especially those 45-49 years of age during January 2007. The participation for those 45-49 years of age dropped from 83.91% during 2007, to 79.43% during 2012 to 78.15% during 2017. For those 50-54 during 2007 the participation rate dropped from 80.47% to 72.66% to 55.64%. Those 55-59 years old saw their participation from 71.89% to 53.98% to 31.81%

Here's the thing: The Participation rate for those 55-59 years of age and old has been rising since 2007. There is some aging of the workforce. Those who were working during 2007 saw a similar stair-step drop in their participation. The participation rate of the individual age group, though have seen the participation rate of 60-64 year olds increased from 52.40% to 55.64%, 65-69 year olds saw the participation rate move up from 29.25% to 31.81%. We saw the participation rate of 70-74 year olds increase from 16.50% to 19.49%. Those over the age of 75 are participating at 8.17% where the age group used to participate at 5.79%.

One Birthday should not make much of a difference - Five birthdays may make a difference. Older people are working longer.There are more people over the age of fifty working now than during recent history. The workforce between the ages of 35 and 49 years old is decreasing. We are seeing some problems with people of  college age having difficulty finding work. there are over 1 million more 20-24 year olds than were present during January 2007 and yet there are only 60,000 more jobs for them. Older people appear to be working longer and younger people are having trouble finding work.

It's the economy.

Who is doing what to the unemployment rate? There has been some discussion that we have elevated levels of teen unemployment. We always have elevated levels of teen unemployment. This January teens were doing almost as well as they were during January 2006. The unemployment rate for those 30-54 years of age is higher now than it was during January 2007. It is also up for those 60-64 and 70-74 years of age. What is interesting with this data is that the unemployment rate for those 20-24 years of age is up over January 2016 and is also comparable to January 2007.