Reclaiming Common Sense

If a story in the news sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.  This monthly we received a solid Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report. The Jobs report  is created  by using two different data sets: The Current Population Survey (CPS) jobs and unemployment data and the Current Employment Statistics Worker data. While numerous articles were being researched an written for this website there were two main narratives that were being pushed: a lack of wage growth and historic youth unemployment.  The articles written here were:

  • "July Jobs Report Better than July 2017." Significant upward revisions to the May and June data, plus a low seasonal factor used to covert the non-seasonally adjusted data to the seasonally adjusted data, meant that the July jobs report was "weaker" than anticipated. It was reported that way, it wasn't record that way.
  • "Wages and Workers Did Better during July" We saw July record weekly wages in all sectors. All sectors added workers July to July except Information Technology and Government.
  • "Five Presidents at 18 Months: Best Ever"President Trump has added more full-time jobs during his first 18 months in office than former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, or Obama added during their first 18 months in office.
  • "Men and women are experiencing record levels of jobs." Men more full-time jobs than women during the Great Recession and took more time to recover those lost jobs. Workforce participation is still below pre-recession levels for both genders.
  • "July's Aging Workforce: Records for Over 55" We had the most people over the age of 55 working since 2005.
  • "More Multiple Job Workers This Month" We had a record level of of people working two part-time jobs for the month of July, and nearly a record number of July workers working two full-time jobs.

People were astounded that the number of teens, and even those 20-24, surged during July. The hadn't heard of Summer Jobs. They were astounded by the historically low unemployment rate. What about the almost historically low July Participation rate for Teens.


Teen participation peaked during July 1978. There were 16.700 million teenagers, 16-19 years of age during July 1978. There were 6.23 million full-time jobs, 3.805 million part-time jobs, and 1.954 million unemployed teenagers. Even so their official, non-seasonally adjusted, participation rate was 71.78% and their unemployment rate was 16.30%.


The Record Low July was July 2015 with 36.35% participation. There were 16.611 million teenagers 16-19 years of age. There were 1.906 million full-time jobs, 3.791 million part-time jobs and 1.172 million unemployed teenagers. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 17.06%


This July we had more Fewer full-time teenagers and fewer part-time teenagers, as well as fewer unemployed teenagers than we had during 1978 or 2015. This July we had 167.611 million teenagers, only 1.906 million full-time jobs for teenagers, 3.791 million part-time jobs for teenagers, and 967,000 unemployed teenagers. This means that the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 13.44% and the participation rate was 42.96%.


Participation Matters.  Had been over 60% teen participation during the month of July during July 1948-53, July 1955-58, July  1960-62 and July 1965-2001. Participation for teens dropped below 50% during July 2008 and has remained there through July 2018.


The economy is moving forward. There was surge in teen jobs, and jobs for those 20-24 years of age during June of this year. The economy is good. Participation rates, plural, are improving. Men and women are participating more than they have during recent years. Men and women are working more full-time jobs than they have worked during any other month. Wages are rising. Most sectors have more workers now than we had during July 2007. Manufacturing jobs are returning. Mining and Logging Jobs are improving. Construction jobs still have a little catching up to do to return to peak housing year levels.  Teens are doing better this Summer than they had been doing. This is a low bar considering that July 2015 was the worst year for teens since 1968.


It's the economy.