Employment, 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.
(Dec 7) There are a number of articles that are generated from the monthly Employment Situation report, including the results article, the "Four Presidents at __ Months" article, and the "Battle of the Sexes" article. The most read column during December was "Men Working 1.1M Fewer Full-time Jobs than July 2007." While the Mainstream Media has been expounding on the "War on Women," men have been losing full-time jobs and replacing them with full-time jobs. Women are doing better than men in this recovery.
(Dec 5) The "Four Presidents" column examines job creation, unemployment, the unemployment rate, and the participation rate for the four most recent two-term Presidents at the same point in their Presidencies. This series was created as a result of a meme on the Internet that said that President Obama was a better job creator than any other President other than Clinton. The problem is that they were comparing him to Presidents at the end of their terms, after the annual January Job purge. Another problem is that the current unemployment rate is a "fake" unemployment rate. The official unemployment rate does not factor in participation. "Four Presidents at 94 Months" calculates the effective unemployment rate and details how President Obama is in fourth place for creating new participants.
(Dec 21) Homes Sales and Home Construction give a good sense of where the economy has been and where it may be heading. We saw housing surge before the Great Recession. The Housing Recession began January 0f 2006 and picked up steam after January 2007. Units sold peaked during 2005 while Sales prices rose through 2006. Home sales spur other types of sales and a large amount of economic activity, including jobs. This month we saw the release of the November Existing Home Sales Data. It was correctly reported that it was the best November since 2007. Unfortunately, the November sales were slower than 2003-2006. The column "Existing Home Sales Surge - Still Lag Behind 2003" digs into the data. The housing recovery continues. We are not back to where we were before the recession.
(Dec 16) The current administration is hanging its legacy on numbers. One number hey like to tout is the Consecutive months of Job creation. Readers of this column recognize that as fake news. A second streak they claims as their own is the Consecutive Weeks of Unemployment Claims Under 300,000 claims streak." The "unemployment streak" is fake news, too. As the "Four Presidents" column detailed the true level of unemployed workers is much higher than is being reported. People are either ineligible for unemployment benefits or they have dropped out of the economy. The column "Fake Unemployment Claims Streak - Fake Number" detail how the non-seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment (FTU) claims number was over 300,000 for back to back weeks and how the seasonally adjusted (SA) FTU claims could have been reported at 276,000 just as easily as it was reported at 254,000.
(Dec 29) More Fake unemployment claims data was released this past week. "Fake Unemployment Claims Drop - Real Claims Rise" details once again that the streak did not start until after January of this year and ended the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It also details how we have had four consecutive weeks of NSA FTU Claims over 300,000 claimants and how this is normal. The 265,000 SA FTU claims reported this past week would have been reported as 282,000 just last year.
(Dec 13) This column has produced many forecast articles during its existence. The concept behind these articles is to manage expectations and to catch misleading FACTs when they are released. "Will November Existing Home Sales Slow, Again" projected the possibility of a surge base on the growth seen this year over last year. It also displayed the trend we have seen over the past four years of lackluster existing home sales." It was projected that we could see between 345,000 and 365,000 units sold.(They exploded to 415,000 units.) We will see if this surge steals some sales from December as people lock into interest rates.
(Dec 1) Every now and again a "Week in review" article or a "Top Ten" article is one of the most read articles of the month. This month one of the top ten articles of December was the top ten article for November. The items covered that month were the "Era of the Meme" article from August of 2015, the genesis of the "Four Presidents" series, plus multiple columns that focused on the November Jobs data, including columns on Multiple Job Holders, the November Jobs Report Forecast article, and the article "Unemployment Streak Ends, Again."
(Dec 2) The November Jobs Report was reported as being good. It really wasn't. "Non-Plus November Jobs Report" explains how we gained part-time jobs at the expense of full-time jobs. It also explains how worker growth is slower this year than what we saw during 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
(Dec 12) New Home sales, and new home construction, also receive a preview treatment. "Will New Home Construction Build on Current Activity" made projections regarding new home starts, units under construction, new home completions, new home sales, and the average sales price for new homes during November.
(Dec 8) We tend to see a spike in unemployment claims at the end of November, followed by a slight retreat or pause, followed by a fairly continuous rise in unemployment claims through Mid-January. This is the "Scrooge Spike." The column "Scrooge Spike in Unemployment Claims" illustrates what has happened and where we may be heading. Remember, the unemployment claims levels are at 16 year lows for this time of year because we have elevated levels of people working two part-time jobs and because of a near historically low participation rate for this time of year.
December was a good month for this column. If the page views from the parallel websites itstheeconomy.info and https://anxietea2016.blogspot.com are combined then readership for December is up by almost 100%
Thank you and Happy New Year.
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