Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

The April Employment Situation, or Jobs Report was released this past Friday. The jobs report includes a cornucopia of data that can be analyzed many different ways. There are two data sets. The Current Population Survey (CPS,) or Household Data measure jobs and unemployment, as well as the workforce population. The unemployment rate and workforce participation rate are derived from this data set. The second data set is the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data set, or Establishment Data, which measures workers. Each data set has a seasonally adjusted (SA) component and an non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) component. The seasonal factors used to convert the NSA data to the SA data change month to month and year to year. It is statistically disingenuous to compare data from different months with differing seasonal factors.

The first article published regarding the April Jobs Report was "April Jobs Report Exceeds Some Expectations." We saw non-seasonally adjust full-time jobs surge, NSA part-time jobs tick slightly higher, NSA Unemployment (U-3) decline and the workforce participation rate rise. The second article "Five Presidents, Month Three, Participation Matters" detailed just how good this data was. President Trump has added more full-time jobs during his first three months in office than Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, or Obama. President Trump has also overseen the largest reduction in the number of unemployed workers during the first three months of the five Presidents' first three months in office. The third article regarding the Jobs Report reported on how "Ten Sectors saw improvement over their March 2017 Level."It has been an incomplete recovery. The next article that examined the data was "Men Recovered Full-time Jobs during April." This article explains that   men lost more jobs during the recession, more full-time jobs, than women, Women recovered their lost full-time jobs first, then men recovered and re-lost their full-time jobs later, that men have seen a steeper drop in participation than women. When factoring participation into the official unemployment(U-3) number (NSA 4.1%) the U-7 Unemployment is closer to 8% for women and 12% for men. One of the reasons why the unemployment level is so low is the participation rate is so low, and the other way around, participation is low because unemployment is artificially low.

Multiple Job Workers are skewing the unemployment levels low. Multiple job worker, when they lose one job, have a back-up job and are not truly unemployed. They are "lesser employed." Even if the job that they lose is their one and only full-time job they do not receive benefits. The unemployment rate is skewed low by seasonal workers. Seasonal workers do not receive unemployment benefits. The unemployment rate is skewed low because of the elevated levels of part-time employees we have seen since July 2007. Part-time employees do not earn unemployment benefits.

There were more people working multiple jobs this April than there were during April 2016. There were over 7.6 million people working two jobs, non-seasonally adjusted, this April. The majority of the people working two jobs were working a full-time job as his/her primary job and a part-time job as a secondary job. There were 4.2 million people working FT PT. There were 2.0 million people working two part-time jobs. There were 300,000 people working two full-time jobs. The remainder were either working two jobs with variable hours or working a lower paying full-time job and a higher paying part-time job. There were no records set for high or low levels by these categories. The good news here is that there were fewer people working two part-time jobs this April than last April.

There were Fewer People Working Multiple Jobs this April than this past March.
The table for month to month (M2M) changes show that this is fairly normal. This was most notable in the number of people working a primary FT and secondary PT job.

There are many questions and not many answers from this data. Are people who want one job losing out to people who already have one job? are people who were working a full-time job and a part-time job finding better full-time jobs? Are people working multiple part-time jobs because employers are still working under the full-time equivalent constraints of the Affordable Care Act? We had over 2 million people working two part-time jobs last May. Will we see that again next month. We saw over 2 million people working two part-time jobs during August, September, October, November, and December of last year. Will we see that happen this year?  We had 8.494 million people working multiple jobs during November of 1996, while last year we had 8.107 million multiple job workers. Are we seeing a pause or a shift in the growing number of multiple job workers?We saw a drop month to month and a rise year to year for multiple job holders during April. Down was up.

It's the economy.