Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

 This year was a big year in the news. We started with a crowded field of Presidential Candidates and narrowed it down to one. We saw months with good economic data and not so good economic data. We saw the Private Sector Job Streak end, although nobody else reported it, so did it really happen. We saw the seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment claims streak end, again, and the people who were ignoring the streak ignored the ending of the streak. We heard that this was a great economy and the strongest recovery since "forever," while the workforce participation rate remained near 40 year lows and home ownership  rates dipped further than they have been during almost the same period of time. We heard that the housing market id stronger than it has been since the Great Recession while ignoring that it is weaker than it has been for decades. We hear that the retail market is doing well while some sectors have not recovered to levels last seen during 2006. The same could be said regarding employment sectors.

What were the ten most read articles here on Reclaiming Common Sense or its parallel website www.itstheeconomy.info ?

(Jan 25) The Top Column of the year was written during January. "Gang of 22 - Virtiol Aimed at Trump - Teflon Don" summarized the National Review Column "Conservatives Against Trump." Twenty-two essays were written with some being written by "Never Trumpers" and some who were expressing concern.


(Jan 13) January is the month that the President makes his State of the Union speech. He believed, and probably believes still, that people like me are peddling fiction. The column "State of (Dis)Union - Evidently I am Peddling Fiction - What are the FACTs?" broke down the statements that President Obama made regarding the recovery and the creation of "14 Million new jobs...cutting the unemployment rate in have...creating 900,000 manufacturing jobs..."

(Jan 12) Have we been in a recession since the beginning of the year? The article "The State of the Union and a Stealth Recession" detailed slowing GDP growth, slowing housing growth, slowing retail sales, and sluggish jobs numbers.

(Jan 15) Retail sales are the lifeblood of our consumption based economy. This column has published numerous articles regarding the incomplete recovery of the retail sector. This past January the column "Underwhelming, Cautionary December Retail Sales Report" examined the data, compared monthly and annual growth, and discussed the sectors that had not recovered from the recession as well as the sectors that had lower December sales during 2015 than they had during  2014.

(Jan 18) Another monthly article is the deficit report article. President Obama called President Bush's addition of 4 trillion in deficit spending to the federal debt "unpatriotic and irresponsible." He had added almost $10T so far and is not done. The article "December Deficit Report - We Paid $182 Billion Dollars More in Taxes During 2015" addressed the deficit, the debt, and the fake "gasoline savings" story-line. We ran a deficit last December during a month when we normally see a surplus due to quarterly tax receipts.

(Feb 10) Another mainstay of this column is the series "Four Presidents at __ Months." The February edition was "President Obama is in Fourth Place for Participation and Job Creation at 84 Months" was written to address the meme that President Obama was the best job creator, second only to President Bill Clinton. The problem is that the people promoting the "best ever" title were comparing Obama to Clinton and Bush 41 and Bush 43. They were not comparing him to Reagan and they were comparing him prior to the job and worker declines seen every January. President Obama had one more January to survive.

(Feb 19) Until recently, the untold story has been that we have had a swelling of the Multiple Job Holder sector, people working two part-time jobs, two full-time jobs, or a part-time job and a full-time job. This February we saw a decline in multiple job workers. "The Decline of Multiple Job Holders - Stealth Unemployment - 5.88% or Higher" added the people who lost one of their multiple jobs into the unemployed category - they still had one job - and referenced the effective unemployment rate created when the participation rate is factored into the unemployment rate.

(Feb 5)  The Jobs Report Columns tend to be the top columns of any given month. Sometimes they are one of the top articles for the year. The article "January Job(less) Report Released" reported that real net Current Population Survey (CPS) job loss was seasonally adjusted into net job gains, that a real spike in unemployment of over 700,000 workers was seasonally adjusted into a drop in unemployment, and that a drop of 2.989 million non-farm payroll workers was reported as a gain of 151,000 workers.


(Feb 12) Retail sales hit the top ten, again. This time it was the article "January Retail Report - Big Revisions - The Big Slowdown" reported on the advance data for January, the preliminary data for December and the final data for November." The headline number for nearly any report is the advance number. Revisions to data are discussed as more of an afterthought.

(Aug 5) Fast forward a few months and another Jobs report column rounds out the top ten for 2016. "Unbelievable July Jobs Report" was titled as such because we should not have believed the headline numbers because unemployment jump as did jobs. The worker growth was one of the slowest under President Obama.


Every month the top columns have to do with Jobs and Unemployment. The links to the columns h=can be found here.


JanuaryThere are a lot of data points that provide insight into the health of the economy. Jobs, Housing, Unemployment, Retail Sales, Inflation and the Federal Debt are consistently in the headlines every month. The connectedness of the data is often ignored. When people are not fully employed they spend less money. When the consumers in a consumer based economy slow their spending the economy feels it. The data that is released and discussed is rarely the non-seasonally adjusted data. Often the data referenced in the media is the seasonally adjusted data, with little or no mention of how the data is adjusted. Sometimes the data is the annualized data - based on living in a hypothetical world. The data released during January were the last data points for the annual data of 2015 for a large number of data sets. Every week this column comments on the various subjects. Every week a "Week in Review Column is written," Every month a Top Ten Columns of the Month is written. Here are the columns that received the bulk of your attention during January of 2016.


FebruaryThis column generates a considerable amount of digital ink on topics including housing, inflation, retail sales, home sales, jobs, and unemployment. Every week a weekly review column is written with a synopsis of the prior week's columns and links to the columns themselves. Every month a top ten column is written covering the most popular columns of that month. Sometimes columns from previous months and years spill into the most read column. This month nine of the top ten columns were written during February.


MarchThe Jobs Report and the columns that are written regarding the jobs report are the most read columns on this website. The forecast columns normally receive as many page views, and sometime more page views, than the columns that cover the news release. There are often one of two forecast columns written regarding the pending release, one for the Current Population Survey data and one for the Current Employment Statistics data. There are normally multiple columns written after the release of the monthly data including  analysis of the data for overall jobs, multiple job holders, and the a column on the current and previous two-term Presidents at the identical point in their Presidencies. Some times there is a breakdown of the jobs numbers by age or gender. This month five of the top six columns focused on the February Jobs numbers.


AprilThe month started, as most months do, with the review of the top ten columns of February. We also had the release of the the Monthly Jobs report, monthly retail sales report, monthly housing numbers, weekly unemployment claims, and the rest of the economic noise that is used as the basis of this column. The data reports contain a ton of FACTs (False Assertions Considered to be True) which often taken considerable amounts of time to unravel, including the FACT that we have had over 70 consecutive months of job growth - we haven't - and that we have had 60 consecutive weeks of seasonally adjusted First-time Unemployment Claims under 300,000 - we haven't. We do not live in a seasonally adjusted world, unless you consider the prices of fresh fruit. Only the government experiences the seasonally adjusted data. What follows are the top columns of April.


MayThis past month, as with the prior month, this column took a forced hiatus. Reality rears its ugly head, even for economists, when homes are being built and contents have to be replaced or moved. The columns written towards the beginning of the month focused on the April Jobs report and unemployment


June  Month in and month out the most popular articles read on this website have to do with the monthly jobs report. Whether it is the "Four Presidents at ___ Months" column, the jobs report preview column(s) or the Jobs Report Release Column, people want the true data and unbiased analysis. This month is no different from prior months.


JulyThere are a number of reports that used to garner attention in the press. The Weekly Unemployment Claims Report, the monthly Jobs Report, The Monthly Housing Reports, and the Monthly Treasury Report on the Debt and Deficit. This month the top ten columns focused on real estate and jobs.


August The number of page views rocketed this past month. If you are reading this column on my "Reclaiming Common Sense" website or you are reading it on my www.itstheeconomy.info website you are receiving the same content. The number of page views on the original website was up over 100% from last August and up 24.6% over the best month ever level of January 2016. This viewership does not include those who viewed this column on the new website that was launched this past month. This past month the readers of this column were most interest in the jobs situation, Retail Spending, Inflation and the Debt.


SeptemberThis was a busy month for readers of this column. There were multiple columns that revolved around the data from the August Jobs Report. How did we do with job creation? What happened with people working two jobs? How are different age groups impacted by the recession and recovery? Which industry has done better after the recession. Which states are doing better? Who is doing worse? One thing is certain - you, the readers of this column have enjoyed what I have written during the past two months. Readership soared during August and September. August readership was up 207% from July to August. Readership during September is up by over 359% compared to August. This column is seeing daily readership greater than what monthly readership used to b


October  The most popular articles on this website tend to focus on jobs. Sometimes the Retail Sales report or the Consumer Price Index report crack the top ten columns of any given month. Sometimes the weekly unemployment claims reports garner "top ten" attention. Often articles regarding real estate, new home construction, new home sales, or existing home sales, crack the top ten.This month followed those trends.


NovemberThe Month of November was a pivotal month for this column. The Employment Situation Report was  released prior to the Presidential Election. This column produced as many articles as possible in preparation for the big event. Normally the articles regarding the results, the Four Presidents at ___ Months" article, the "War on Men" article, and the "Red, Gray, and Blue," article and the Employment Sector analysis take a week to produce. They were produced in half the time by working all weekend long. Here are the links to the article written during the month of November.


DecemberEmployment, Unemployment, and Housing were the most read topics during the month of December. There has been a considerable amount of discussions regarding "fake news" since the middle of the year. The President even accused analysts like me as "peddling fiction." The real "fake news" is the news that comes from the government. Seasonally adjusted data has been used to create "FACTs" (False Assertions Considered to be True)  for years. Two FACTs have been accepted as truths: The Employment Streak that started after the adoption of Obamacare and the 90 -plus consecutive weeks of First-time Unemployment Claims under 300,000 seasonally adjusted claims.


Enjoy. Remember, "It's the Economy."