Reclaiming Common Sense

Seasonally Adjusted Manufacturing Jobs Fell - This was a concern to some.

Non-Seasonally Adjusted Government Workers rose by 980,000 - Ignored.

The monthly jobs report is created using two data sets that are rarely in sync: the Current Population Survey (CPS) jobs and unemployment data and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) wages and workers data. Each data set is seasonally adjusted with seasonal factors that change month to month, season to season, and year to tear. They are seasonally adjusted because January and September are "unbelievably" bad, non-seasonally adjusted, and March, April and May are "unbelievably" good, non-seasonally adjusted. Some months down is up. This is one of them. The first article "Sep. Jobs Report: Unemployment Down, Part-time Jobs Up" started the conversation. The article "Strong Sep. Worker and Wages Data" found that All but one sectors added non-seasonally adjusted workers during the past year and that all sectors saw wages grow faster than inflation. 


How is President Trump dong compared to his predecessors? This column has been comparing the same month data for the Current President since month 81 of the Obama Administration with the series "Four Presidents at __ Months" and now "Five Presidents at __ Months." What has been missed in most discussions on the economy is the Participation Rate. Participants are either full-time workers, part-time workers, or unemployed workers. The full-time (FT) and part-time jobs (PT) data and the unemployed worker data all are found in the Current Population Survey data.  The data for this President is seriously remarkable,


How many jobs have been created? If we examine the jobs data for the first 32 months of the Presidencies of former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama with Current President Trump some differences are easy to identify. Former Presidents Obama and Reagan saw jobs losses early during their times in office. Only former President Clinton and President Trump added jobs while reducing unemployment.

  • President Trump added 8.7 million FT jobs and trimmed 738,000 PT Jobs
  • Frm. President Clinton added 5.6 million FT jobs and another 2.5 million PT jobs
  • Frm. President Reagan added 2.7 million FT jobs and 1.5 million PT jobs
  • Frm. President Bush added 1.2 million FT jobs and 352,000 PT jobs
  • Frm. President Obama lost 835,000 FT jobs and added 901,000 PT Jobs

This means that Former President Clinton added the most total jobs at 8.1 million jobs and President Trump added the second most total jobs at 8.0 million while adding 8.7 million FT jobs. Full-time jobs should have more value to the economy than part-time jobs.


Unemployment levels matter. Only President Trump and former President Clinton were able to reduce unemployment while boosting jobs.

  • Frm. President Clinton trimmed 3.0 million workers from unemployment
  • President Trump has reduced unemployment by 2.7 million workers.
  • Frm. President Obama added 511,000 workers to unemployment during his first 32 months in office
  • Frm. President Reagan saw unemployment climb by 1.1 million workers.
  • Frm. President Bush added 1.9 million to the unemployment total.

Part of the disparity in the unemployment numbers, as well as the jobs numbers, comes from the starting size of the workforce when these Presidents took office. Part of the change in unemployment is due to the fact that the unemployment levels soared during the early years of the Reagan and Obama Presidencies. President Trump and former President Clinton inherited unemployment levels were declining when they took office. President Trump can expect one more month in declining unemployment, non-seasonally adjusted, during the month of October this year.


Participation Matters.The participation rate rose during the first 32 months of the Regan Presidency, the Clinton Presidency, the George W Bush Presidency, and the Trump Presidency. Former President Obama saw his participation rate decline year over year for the duration of high Presidency. He left office with a lower participation rate than former President Reagan had at the start of his Presidency.  The participation rate this September is virtually identical to what it was during September of 2013.  The participation rate was 63.18% and the unemployment rate was 7.00%. This month the participation rate was 63.14% with a non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of just 3.33%.


What is the real unemployment rate? If you examine the combinations of unemployment rate and participation rate you ll find that peak participation with the lowest unemployment rate happened September 2000. The effective unemployment rate, or U-7 compares the participation rates and unemployment rates while holding one year fixed

  • September 2000: Participation 66.69% Unemployment 3.77%
  • September 1998: Participation 67.04% Unemployment 4.38% (U-7 4.26%)
  • September 2011: Participation 64.16% Unemployment 8.78% (U-7 12.24%)-7
  • September 2013: Participation 63.18% Unemployment 7.00% (U-7 11.88%)
  • September 2019: Participation 63.14% Unemployment 3.33% (U-7 8.47%)

The U-7 rate gives some insight as to why we are not seeing rampant wage inflation or rampant CPI inflation. We are not at "full-employment": even though the unemployment rate is under 4.00%, because we do not have "full participation."


Are these fair comparisons? There are some people who want to  compare the first three years under President Trump with the final three years of Former President Obama. This column did compare the first 24 months under President Trump and the final 24 months under former President Obama and found that President Trump had added 5.151 million full-time jobs to former President Obama's 4.175 million. Both reduced the umber of part-time jobs. Both reduced the unemployment levels. President Trump trimmed more part-time jobs than Obama and Obama trimmed slightly more unemployed workers.  We will have a solid comparison of the two Presidents at 36 months when the January Jobs Report is released.


These jobs reports can be a form of a Rorschach Test. What you see depends on your perspective. There are some that say this is really the Obama Economy continuing into the Trump Presidency. The first 24 months under President Trump were better than the final 24 under former President Obama. That momentum is continuing under President Trump. There were more part-time jobs added than full-time jobs were trimmed this month.


We have the most combined FT and PT jobs ever. We should see the number of part-time jobs improve during October. We have an elevated level of multiple job holders. This means that we could see the unemployment level drop for a prolonged period of time. This column has stated that the best form of unemployment insurance is a second job. The next article will examine the multiple job holder status and how men an women are doing this September with regard to full-time and part-time jobs.


It's the Economy.