Reclaiming Common Sense

(Dec. 1) The month started with "December 1 Week in Review: Misunderstood Data." The articles this week included an explanation as to why the Media's obsession with a potential MAGA Recession is misplaced, a review of the revisions to the Third Quarter GDP, the Weekly Unemployment Claims data, and a forecast for the monthly Jobs Report.


(Dec 3) How do you know if something is good if you do not know what to expect? The week started where last week ended with a forecast of a jobs report, the ADP Payroll Report forecast article. The ADP data is entirely seasonally adjusted. The data indicated that all sectors should grow month to month , and November to November, except Information Technology. It was possible that the annual growth rate would drop October to November. It was thought that we could see over 200,000 payroll positions added to the economy.

(Dec. 6) The ADP Payroll report release was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday due to the Federal Holiday for the funeral of former President George HW Bush. We would all be honored if we could receive the kind words that the former President received. The article "Remarkable November ADP" details how while the month to month growth rate was less than expected, the annual growth rate was still better than November 2016 and November 2017, based on the data revisions from earlier this year. We did see month to month and November to November growth in all sectors except IT.

(Dec. 6) We also received the weekly unemployment claims data on Thursday. This time of year we see an increasing number of lay-offs. It happens every year. The annual low for first-time claims is normally around September 30th, and the annual low is normally the first week of October for continuing claims. Both tend to hit their annual highs during the first week of January. The data is recorded as non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data and reported as seasonally adjusted (SA) data. The number that used to garner headlines was the seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment claims data. There are two other components that need some attention: the continuing claims data and the insured unemployment rate. The article "Continuing Unemployment Claims Historically Low" details how we have set records this year for record low first-time claims, with a record 21 weeks with NSA FTU under 200,000 claims, how we set a near record low continuing claims level this October, and how we did set an all-time record low for the insured unemployment rate. The fist-time claims and continuing claims data both recorded spikes, NSA, and were reported as dropping SA.

(Dec. 7) The November Jobs Report went over like a lead balloon. If people had spent some time digging into the data then they would have found that it was quite good. "November Jobs Report: What Recession Coming?" examined the Current Population Survey (CPS) jobs and unemployment data and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) worker data.


(Dec. 8)  "December 8 Week in Review: Growing Economy" revisited the preceding articles and refuted the mainstream media's assertion that there is an oncoming economic storm in the United States.


(Dec. 10) We received one of our best November Jobs reports since 1979. This was the fourth best November non-seasonally adjusted worker number since 1979.  The article "Workers and Wages Rose during November" detailed how all sectors recorded their highest November Weekly Wage rate this November.

(Dec. 10) Last month the former President was attempting to compare his final 24 months in office with President Trump's first 22 months in office. That didn't work out so well. The article "Five Presidents at 22 months" compared the current President with former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama with regard to full-time job creation, part-time job creation, changes in the number of unemployed workers, and changes in participation rates. President Trump and former President Clinton are the only Presidents to add jobs and cut unemployment. Sorry, Mr. Obama.

(Dec. 11) Last week we received the Jobs Report for November. This week we received the JOLTS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for October. "Record October JOLTS Data" explained how you should not compare job openings to the number of unemployed workers. It also explained how three sectors with record levels of job openings, quits, and hires have three of the four lowest weekly wages.

(Dec. 12) This week we received the November Retail Sales Report. This week the forecast article "November Retail Forecast: All Registers Ringing" projected the possibility for a strong Retail report, a record November retail report, and the possibility for November to November growth is all but one sector.

(Dec. 12) This week we received the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report on inflation. Depending on how you look at the data the official CPI rate was lower this November than last November or it was significantly higher than last year. "November Inflation Data: What Inflation" details how most of us are not experiencing inflation.

(Dec. 13) Ho-Hum. Another great weekly unemployment claims data. Read all about it in "Weekly Unemployment Claims: Seriously Good Data."

(Dec. 14) You wouldn't know by the stock market action that we had our best November retail month ever. We had a record level of sales for the month of November this November. We saw all sectors have better November data this year than last year, except the Sporting Goods, Hobbies, Book and Music Sector. "Rocking November Retail Sales Data" explains how the retail sector is growing faster than it has for many years, and that this will boost the fourth quarter GDP data.


(Dec. 15) "December 15 Week in Review: More Jobs, More Spending" reviewed the October JOLTS data, November CPI data, unemployment data, November  jobs data, and retail sales data.


(Dec. 16) A rare Sunday article was published in advance of the November New Construction report and the November Existing Home Sales Report. "November Real Estate Forecast: Expansion Continues" detailed how we could see data that could be misconstrued. Construction wanes as the temperatures fall. Sales drop as we approach year end. We could still have our best new construction years since 2008 and an existing home sales year better than 2015, possibly better than 2016, and that 2017 was slightly out of reach due to a lack of inventory.

(Dec. 17) There was an article written earlier during the year where someone was projecting that 10,000 people could be retiring every day of the year. The data was misinterpretted as that they were actually retiring this year.  The article "November's Aging Workforce" is a continuation of the "Red, Gray, and Blue" series. Not as many people are not retiring, as is being reported elsewhere. We have a record level of people working who are over the age of 55.

(Dec. 18)  We received the New Construction data this Tuesday. The was a considerable amount of angst and hand-ringing regarding "weaker than expected" new construction data. That could have been the case for the past decade. The truth is that we are on track for our best year since 2007. This year should end better for Starts, Units under Construction, and Completions than 2008, 2009, 2010, all the way through 2017. The data was not too hot, and not too cold.

(Dec. 19)  We received the Existing Home Sales data this past Wednesday. This was received with hand ringing. too. We set a record average sales price for the Month of November. Inventory dropped October to November, as is normal, while increasing from November to November. Last year we set a record low for November Inventory, so this is a good thing. "November Existing Home Inventory Improved" goes into the data.

(Dec. 20)  They still produce the weekly unemployment claims reports. "Weekly Unemployment Data Ho-Ho Low" explains how the non-seasonally adjusted data for first-time claims fell this week and was reported, seasonally adjusted, as increasing from week to week.  We have the lowest Insured Unemployment Rate for this week of the year since the program was started during 1967. Check it out.

(Dec. 21) When the new construction data, retail sales data, import/export data, and government spending data is rolled into one report, including Gross Private Domestic Investments, and the data is seasonally adjusted and revised, you get the Third Quarter "final" GDP report.  This data will be revised next year. The article "Third Quarter GDP data revised, again" details how the Gross Private Domestic Investment (GPDI) data, quarter to quarter,  was revised higher from the "preliminary" value of 15.1% to 16.2%.  This, and other revisions, point to a potentially strong Fourth Quarter GDP.

(Dec. 21)  This column publishes a number of articles regarding the monthly Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report. The week started with the "November Aging Workforce" article and ended with "November Men, Women, and Multiple Workers" which examined the changes in full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and multiple job worker data by gender, male and female. There are a record number of jobs being worked by female workers. There is record number of men working full-time and part-time jobs during the month of November.  Normally a second article is written regarding the number of Multiple Job Workers. This year the data was included in this article and examined the number of men and women working a primary full-time job, secondary part-time job, two full-time jobs, or two part-time jobs.


(Dec. 22) "Dec. 22 Week in Review: Good Data" dug into what data was available.


(Dec. 27) The government was shutdown. There wasn't much economic data expected to be released. Thursday we were supposed to receive the Weekly Unemployment Claims Report and the November New Home Sales Report. "Jolly Unemployment Claims data" addressed the only data released this week that this column normally addresses. The Shutdown shutdown the release of the new home sales data. And this paragraph is a blurb of a week in review.


(Dec. 31) The December ADP report will be released Thursday this week. The Article "December ADP Report Should Be Jolly" used the prior twelve months of data, the most recent eleven months of data, and the growth between November and December and December to December from prior years to project what was expected in the seasonally adjusted ADP Private Sector Payroll data.