Reclaiming Common Sense

April was a month for good economic data. We had a strong ADP Payroll Report. We had a March Jobs report that was better than March 2017. WE had a record retail quarter. We had low CPI inflation. We had consistently low weekly unemployment claims reports. "All" the media could discuss was "Stormy" weather for the President. Three of the top read articles this month were the week in review articles.The ADP, Employment Situation, Retail, and GDP forecast articles also caught your eye.


(April 6) The monthly jobs report was eagerly anticipated this week. The other prognosticators were expecting a number of 190,000 seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll jobs. The "problem" is that while others were reporting the headline number as being a disappointment, they forgot to mention that February's seasonally adjusted data was revised higher, borrowing some growth from March, and that the seasonal factor used to convert the data from the non-seasonally adjusted level recorded to the seasonally adjusted data reported was the lowest since 1980, thereby reducing the seasonally adjusted data. They also forgot to mention that the "March Jobs Report was better than March 2017."


(April 5)   Thursday was Unemployment Claims Data Day. The report was summarily dismissed in the media. The non-seasonally adjusted data was recorded 27,000 lower than the same week last year and reported only  9,000 lower. If the same seasonal factor was used this year as was used last year then this year's seasonally adjusted data would have been reported HIGHER than last year. The continuing claims data recorded and reported a drop in claims.


(March 31) The "March 31 Week in Review: Out Like a Lion" week in review was the third most read article during April. Fourth Quarter GDP was up.The March 24 Weekly Unemployment Claims data was better than the data from September 29, 1973.


(April 7) The April 7th Week in Review article was the second Week in Review Article to make the top ten this month.  This article covered the Jobs Report Data, The ADP Payroll Report Forecast Article, the ADP Payroll "results" article, The "Top Ten Articles" of March article, and the weekly unemployment claims article.


(April 4) The ADP Report for March was a pleasant surprise. The March ADP payroll number Marched ahead 245,000 jobs. Every sector increased their payrolls between February and March, including the Information Technology Sector and Trade, Transportation and Utility Sectors.st a The forecast  article projected "at least 215,000" new jobs.  Heck, 245,000 jobs is "at least" 215,000 jobs.


(April 14) Another week, another week in review article that made the top ten this month. Wages were up. Best first fourteen months under a President since Reagan. Sector data was up. More men were working full-time jobs. Lots of good news.


(April 13)  Contrary to the narrative heard elsewhere, we are in a Retail Renaissance, not a Retail Ice Age. Retail sales during 2017 were the highest ever recorded. We just had our best January retail month, non-seasonally adjusted, after having our best January Retail sales month, non-seasonally adjusted. "March MARTS Retail Forecast:  Remarkable" examined the month to month growth and the March to march growth and found that while we could see March to March declines in the Electronic and Appliance Sector, The Clothing and Clothing Accessory Sector, and the Sporting Goods and Hobby Sector, we should see Total growth of 5% to 10% over the March 2017 level. Month to month growth is even more remarkable. Month to month growth should be up for all sectors by double digits. Every sector should be up 11% to 20% over their February Levels. The total growth March 2018 versus March 2017 could be 15%, 16%, 17%, or 18%.


(April 13) We will be receiving data on new home construction, new home sales, and existing home sales between April 17th and April 24th. "March 2018 Real Estate Forecast: Momentum" examined the possible outcomes for each of those three reports. New Home Starts, Completions, and Units under construction should exceed last year's levels and should continue to the return to normalcy that was seen prior to the Housing Recession of 2005-2010. New Home sales should pop higher than last March and higher than this February, We should see a new record March Average Sales Price. Existing Homes could surge higher than last year's March level. Inventory, or the lack thereof, could hold back sales. We should set another March existing home average sales price record.


(March 31) This column writes forecast articles regarding the jobs report. It has been a tradition to publish the forecast the Friday before the Employment Situation release date. Good Friday took precedent. The article "Will March Jobs Report Be in Like a Lion" was a bit tongue in cheek. March is one of the strongest job hiring months. May  and July are stronger. Unemployment should fall. Participation should surge. This is no small feat as unemployed workers are participants and are a negative influence to the participation rate when there are fewer unemployed workers. January would have been one of the best Januaries ever if it weren't for the massive revisions to the 2015, 2016, and 2017 data. The February data was the best for the month since 1979. How much will the CES (Current Employment Statistics) data grow between February and March? How low will the seasonal factors skew the data? Will the data from February be revised higher, thereby "stealing" workers from March? How many non-seasonally adjusted CPS (Current Population Survey) full-time jobs will be added? Will we also see the addition of part-time jobs? How much should we expect the unemployment level and the unemployment rate to fall? Multiple job workers could set a March record for total multiple job workers, people working a full-time job and a part-time job, and possibly for those working two part-time jobs. Participation should improve, again.


(April 9) The week started with "Five Presidents at 14 months." What has this President done? Has he just ridden the coattails  of President Obama? No. President Trump has added more full-time jobs during his first fourteen months than Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush and Obama did during their first fourteen months. Unemployment is down and participation is up even after massive revisions to the workforce population brought down President Trumps participation rate this January.


(April 2) The ADP Payroll report is "always" released the Wednesday prior to the Friday that the monthly Employment Situation Report is released by the government. The ADP number is a seasonally adjusted only data set. This data closely resembles the Private Sector Current Employment Statistics data. The "headline number" for the CES data is the "Non-Farm Payroll" number that includes government jobs. ADP does not include government jobs. "March ADP Expectations: Up over 215k" projected that two sectors might drop month to month and that one sector might drop March to March.st


Tomorrow is the Jobs Report. The forecast article for the ADP report was fairly accurate. Let's see how the Employment Situation Forecast article compares to reality.