Reclaiming Common Sense

The April Employment Situation Report was released this past Friday. We saw 167,000 seasonally Adjusted (SA) Current Employment Statistics (CES Private Sector workers added to the economy. We also saw an additional 37,000 SA CES workers added to the March number, so net we gained 204,000 workers added to the economy with the release of the report. Most importantly we saw the number of non-seasonally adjusted U-3 unemployed workers drop below 6 million to a nearly 39 year low for the month of April.  Some would argue that the wage data was the most important data in the recent report.  Wages are up over last April, per the non-seasonally adjusted wage data. Weekly wages were up 2.40% to 5.82% depending upon "super sector." The question that needs to be answered is "How is President Trump's Economy doing compared to Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama?" This was the inspiration of the "Five Presidents at __ Months" series.

Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Obama were all Full-time Job Losers during their first 15 months in office. President Obama oversaw the loss of 2.4 million full-time jobs. President Bush oversaw the loss of more than 800,000 full-time jobs. President Reagan oversaw the loss of more than 700,000 full-time jobs. President Obama had a larger economy than President Bush, who had a larger economy than President Reagan. President Clinton added over 1.7 million full-time jobs and President Trump has added over 4.3 million Full-time jobs. President Trump has added more full-time jobs than all the other Presidents combined.

President Trump has added the fewest number of Part-time jobs. President Clinton added the most Part-time jobs. President Reagan came in second place, President Obama came in third place and President Bush came in fourth place, so size of economy may not matter that much.

Lowest April Unemployment since April 2000. President Trump has seen a drop of 2.217 million unemployed workers during his first fifteen months in office. The first review of the April jobs report noted that the April U-3 Unemployment level, non-seasonally adjusted, dropped to 5.932 Million, lower than April 2001, not quite as low as April 1999 or April 2000. The only problem is that the drop in unemployed workers "drops" participation because unemployed workers are "participants."

Workforce Participation Stabilizing. Workforce participation fell in lockstep for the majority of President Obama's two terms. His Participation rate peaked during July 2009 at 66.25%. He left President Trump with the lowest January participation rate since President Reagan when during January 2017 it was 62.45%. It could have been reported lower if the workforce population level was not revised down during January 2017.

We are not at full employment. We are still missing millions of participants. The prior administration blamed the drop in participation as Baby Boomers Retiring. We know from the "Red, Gray, and Blue" series that older workers are working longer into their golden years. Will President Trump match President Reagan's July Participation rate this year? It is going to be difficult, especially if you examine the huge variation between the January and July Participation rates President Regan had (3%.) Last January to July was 1.01%. If we are full employment right now what were we during April of 2000? Fuller Employment? Fullest Employment? President Trump has to "beat" President Reagan's participation rate, then President Obama's participation rate before we approach full, fuller, or fullest employment.

Full-time jobs are up significantly. Unemployment is dropping to near historical lows by rate or real value. Participation is improving. More to come.

It's the economy.