Reclaiming Common Sense

(Feb. 1) The  readers of this column know that last week this column projected a very strong Jobs Report with record January wages, the likelihood of an elevated unemployment rate and all sectors adding workers. It detailed how the January job and worker data would decline non-seasonally adjusted and rise seasonally adjusted.  "Prognosticators" were projecting a meager 165,000-175,000  SA non-farm payroll workers joining the economy. The stellar jobs data that reported over 300,000 non-farm payroll workers and nearly 300,000 private sector workers was examined in the article  "January Jobs Report: Shutdownproof Economy?"  

(Feb. 2)
"The Week in Review: Groundhog Day Jobs Data"t covered the "Shutdown Proof Economy" plus the January ADP forecast article, the ADP Payroll report article, weekly unemployment claims, a look forward to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report and the November New Home Sales data.


(Feb. 4) The January Jobs Report came with considerable revisions to the seasonally adjusted (SA) Current Employment Statistics (CES) worker data and a more moderate amount of revisions  to the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) CES data.  "January Worker and Wages Data: Up and Up." commented on the systematic revisions to the  Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (TTU) data and the Professional Business Services (PBS) data back to at least 1980. There were also revisions to the NSA CES worker data from April 2017 to December 2018 and the SA CES worker data from January 2014 to December 2018.  All Sectors grew from January 2017. All Sectors received higher wages this year than last year.

(Feb. 5)
There has been consider discussions regarding the economy under President Trump. Some think that the recent job growth is a continuation of President Obama's time in office while others credit deregulation and tax cuts for employers and employees.   "Five Presidents at 24 Months: Only Two Comparables"  examines the first 24 months in office of former President Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama with the current President. Only Clinton and President Trump were able to both cut unemployment levels and add full-time jobs. President Trump has added 1 million more jobs during his first 24 months in office than former President Obama did during his final 24 months in office.

(Feb. 6) There was a "War on Women" during the 2012 election. We had some discussion regarding women in the workforce during the 2016 election, as well. This column had published a "War on (Wo)Men" series for a considerable period of time. This month's article   "January Men, Women, Multiple Job Workers" examined the full-time, part-time and multiple jobs data as well as the participation and population data for men and women.  We have a January  record number of jobs for men and a January record number of jobs for women.  We also have a record number of men and women workers in the workforce population for the month of January. Women have added more total  new jobs than men have added since July 2007. There is also a discussion on the difference in multiple job holder data by gender and in total.

(Feb. 7)  Thursday's Weekly Unemployment Claims report was actively ignored, again. We had our third lowest NSA first-time Unemployment (FTU) claims data for the first week of February as compared with the data during the past 52 years. We had the lowest continuing claims data for the fourth week of January since January 24, 1970. We also have 90 million more covered insured than we had during 1971, so any comparison has to factor in the change in the workforce population. How soon with the NSA FTU data fall below 200,000 claims?

(Feb. 8) Another Jobs Report Series is the "Red, Gray and Blue" aging workforce series.There have been discussions by the talking heads that the reason why the workforce participation rate fell during the Obama Administration was because Baby Boomers were retiring. "January's Aging Workforce: Grayer" examined the current population survey (CPS) data for employed workers, unemployed workers, and workforce population data. We had January  record levels of workers who were working who were 55-59 years old, 60-64 years old, 65-69 years old, 70-74 years old and 75 years of age and older. Teens are not participating at he same rate that they were participating during January 2007. Teens were participating at a rate of 39.45 during January 2007. They are now participating at a rate of just  32.81%.


(Feb. 9) "Week in Review: More Jobs Data" covered the articles written between February 4th-8th.


(Feb. 12)  The week started with the December JOLTS Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey. Remember that the January Jobs Report was released a week ago  ."Dec. JOLTS Report: Record Setting" details how we had a record levels of job openings, quits, separations, and hirings for the month of December. Three of the four most active sectors were three of the four lowest paid sectors during December.

(Feb. 13) This column and its sister site "Reclaiming Common Sense" have been writing the "Mortgaging our Future" series since the Federal Debt eclipsed $18 trillion during November 2014. "$22 Trillion: Mortgaging Our Future" examined the Income and Outlays Data. Both Revenue (TAXES) and Spending dropped January to January. That was ignored in the media. Read the article for more that was ignored.

(Feb. 13)  The CPI Inflation data for January December Retail spending, non-seasonally adjusted, and the Record $6.04 trillion in total sales for the entire year. as released this week. Inflation, what inflation?  "All Item CPI Officially 1.6%" dug into the data and found that, once again, we are having Shelter Inflation, Medical Inflation, including Health Insurance, and Service Deflation.

(Feb. 14) Valentine's Day meant the simultaneous release of the weekly unemployment claims data and the much delayed December MARTS Retail data. Both were released at 8:30 AM Eastern Standard Time.  The unemployment claims data was excellent and ignored. The MARTS data was record setting and maligned. "Dec. Retail Records Finally Reported (Part 1)" was a little delayed because the author of the article was making phone calls to national and local media to get them to report on the Records that we set.

(Feb. 14)  The weekly unemployment claims data was ignored, again. "Can We Discuss Seriously Strong Unemployment  Data" detailed how we had  189,000 fewer continuing claims this year with 2 million more covered insured workers. It also explained how we had the second fewest first-time claims for the second week of February since its inception during 1967. Yes, we had roughly 10,000 more claims this yer than the same week last year..... for 2 million more workers.

(Feb 15)  The mainstream media was talking about how this was the weakest December Retail Report in almost a decade. They were so wrong. It was all done with "mirrors" via the seasonal factors used to convert the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) MARTS data that was recorded to the seasonally adjusted (SA) data that was reported. "Dec. Retail Records Finally Reported (Part 2)" showed how if the same seasonal factors were used to convert the November NSA MARTS data to the SA data were applied to the December SA Data that they could have reported $553 billion in sales compared to the headline $505 billion.  Retail sales were up 5.05% NSA and 4.94% SA. Both were better than December 2017. What the talking heads scratch their heads when the GDP data is released  at the end of the month. (Note: Image from Report shows the 5.0% gain, rounded down, and the $6,036,420,000,000 in 12 months of sales, non-seasonally adjusted.)


(Feb. 16) Week in Review: Record Retail Year detailed how the mainstream media got the end of the year retail report wrong, plus the other data from February 12-15.


(Feb. 19) This column produces a monthly real estate forecast article for the New Home Construction data, the New Home Sales data, and the Existing Home Sales data.  It was thought that we would see existing home inventory improve from January to January and from December to January. It was thought that we would set a new January record Average Sales Price. It was thought that the units sold would improve with improving inventory levels. "January Existing Home Forecast: Surprise" goes into the details.

(Feb. 21)  We still receive weekly unemployment claims data on Thursdays at 8:30 AM Eastern Time, when we do not have a holiday. This week the data was remarkable. "February Unemployment Claims Data Improves Again" explains how we had the fewest non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) first-time unemployment (FTU) claims for the third week of of February.We had he lowest continuing claims data for the second week of February since February 10, 1973. We also had one the lowest Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR) for the second week of February. Remember that we have 86.7 million more covered insured now than we had during the second week of February 1973.

(Feb. 21) The January Existing Home sales data was better than reported. If you read the "forecast" article then you may remember that there was the possibility for a drop in existing home sales to a level between 260,000 and 278,000 non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) units.  It was thought that the improved inventory could boost sales over 313,000. The units sold was going to be unpredictable. Units sold disappointed with only 285,000 condominiums and single family homes sold. This was the headline elsewhere. "January Existing Home Sales Record Average Sales Price Ignored" reported on the sales price, the inventory, and the units sold. Inventory improved month to month and January to January.


(Feb. 23) Week in Review: Data Shutdown covered the articles from February 19-22.


(Feb. 26) There are two ways to look at the December New Construction data: This was a weak December and this was the strongest New Construction Year since 2007. Both would be correct.  "December New Construction Data: Best Year since 2007" decided to look at the glass as half full. The month to month growth in Starts, Units Under Construct, and Completions were on the low side of expectations. It was thought that the data would come in more towards the center of expectations. The good news is that this was the best year for all three categories since 2007, which bodes well for the December Sales data. The government shutdown may have slowed applications for new construction loans.

(Feb. 28) Thurs we saw the release of the Advance Fourth Quarter GDP and the Weekly Unemployment claims at 8:30 AM EST. The GDP report was covered and smothered while the weekly claims data was actively ignored. The article "2019 GDP Best End of Year Data Since 2000"   Examined the data. The Advance 4th Quarter GDP for 2015 was 2.5%. The Advance GDP for fourth quarter 2019 was 2.9%. The annualized GDP came in lower than third quarter 2018 and higher than fourth quarter 2017 GDP, as projected. The Same Quarter GDP came in at 3.1%, higher than 2018Q3 and higher than 2017Q4, as projected.

(Feb. 28) The weekly claims data was one of the best for the fourth week of February for first-time unemployment claims, non-seasonally adjusted, back to 1967. Last February we had a lower level of NSA FTU claims at 195,000 claims compared to this year's 202,000 claims. We also have 2 million more covered insured this year. "Solid Weekly Unemployment Claims Data" found something similar for the NSA Continuing Claims data and the Insured unemployment Rate, which remained under 1.50%.