Reclaiming Common Sense

The July Jobs Report, or Employment Situation was released two weeks ago

Older Workers are Still Working

The July Employment Situation data was better than it was reported. We have 1.451 million more full-time jobs and 667,000 fewer part-time jobs than last July. We have more people working this July than last July and more than have ever worked.  Full-time jobs spiked, and unemployment rose slightly from the June 2019 level. Even so, the unemployment rate was the lowest for the month of July since July 1969.

So far this column has published the articles:

This column has produced another series titled "Red, Gray and Blue, our aging workforce." This series has detailed how those under the age of 25 have been not participating at the same levels as they were participating prior to the recession. It has also shown how those over the age of 59 years old have been "over-particpating."   What happened this month is quite remarkable.

The Real Unemployment rate is different from the official unemployment rate. The previous section included a link to an unemployment rate and participation rate table. It also has a value called "U-7" or the "Effective Unemployment Rate." The non-seasonally adjusted data for July 2019 is compared with July data from 1979-2018. The U-7 rate compared the participation rate and unemployment rate with the previous best July for Participation and Low unemployment. This month the direct comparison is July 2000 when the participation rate was 67.61% and the unemployment rate was 4.19%. This month the participation rate  was 63.63% and the unemployment rate was 3.97%. If we had the same level of participation as we had during July 2000 then we would have early 17 million more people working full-time jobs, part-time jobs, or even unemployed. The effective unemployment rate is 9.63%. This U-7 rate has been falling from 13.37% during July 2011 to 9.63%. We are not at full-employment because we are not at full-participation.

According to the U-7 We have Negative Unemployment for those over the age of 60 years old. This is non-sense. We do not have negative unemployment. What we have is a higher level of participation, and good participation, in the form of jobs, full-time and part-time. More people are working now that during July 2007 and fewer are unemployed. This means that we have fewer unemployed workers than we had during 2007 and therefore a negative unemployment rate.

Teen unemployment is low because teen participation is down 6% since July 2007. This column produced an article last August titled "July Teen Participation Shockingly Low." Teen participation is still shockingly low. The participation rate was 5.021% during July 2007. Now the teen participation rate is only 44.293%. The unemployment rate was 15.482% during July 2007 and 13.263% this July. The difference means that the U-7 is actually 23.97%.

Peak Teen participation was July 1978. We had 71.8% participation from our teens during July 1978 compared to this month at 44.3%. The difference in participation means that instead of having a non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 13.3% that the U-7 unemployment rate is 47.53%.

  • July 1978 (16-19) Population: 16.701 M Employed 10.033 M Unemployed 2.030M
  • July 2019 (16-19) Population: 16.862 M Employed 6.409 M Unemployed 0.980 M

We have 161,000 more potential workers and 3.6 million fewer workers and 1.05M fewer unemployed workers

The data was strong. It is Summer, so people are working one, two, or three jobs. Full-time jobs, some most likely  seasonal, hit an all-time high. July Participation was the highest since July 2013. Our older population is still participating.

It's the Economy.

We have record levels of jobs for those over the age of 55 years old. We have more people who are 55-59 years old working than we have who are 20-24 years old. This was not the case prior to the recession. This July we saw a spike in workers over the age of 55 working in both the month to month category and the July to July category. We also saw a similar double boost for those 16-19 years old and 20-24 years old. We saw a drop in jobs being worked, both June to July and July to July, for those 25-29, 45-49, and 50-54 years old.

Unemployment Rose June to July, and declined July to July.  We saw unemployment rise month to month and drop July to July for those 20-24, 45-59, and 65-69 years of age. We saw unemployment rise month to month and July to July for those 25-34 years of age. Unemployment only fell month to month and July to July for those 70-74 years old and for those over the age of 75.

The Participation rate increased overall, and for all but three age groups. The only age groups that saw their participation rates fall were lose 25-29 years old, 40-44 years old, and 50-54 years old. We had the highest July participation rate since July 2013. The 63.63% participation rate was slightly lower than July 2013 (63.96  ) and slightly higher than July 2014 (63.53%.) What is interesting to note is that the teen participation rate spiked from 42.960% last July to 44.293% this July.

There have been many stories about how retiring Baby Boomers are dragging down the participation rate - this is not entirely true.  The headlines had been that a record level of Baby Boomers were reaching retirement age every month. That is different from saying that a record level of Baby Boomers are actually retiring. "Boomers" are considered to be those born between 1945 and 1964. These people would be 55 years old to 74 years old right now. Those who are 55 and older are participating more than ever. The participation rate is up nearly 4% for 60-64 year old, 6% for those 65-69 years of age, 2.5% for those 70-74 years of age, and nearly 2% for those over the age of 75. These are the comparisons between July 2007 and July 2019.