Reclaiming Common Sense

The March Monthly Employment Situation report was released this past Friday, and promptly forgotten by this past Saturday. It was thought that it was going to be another strong report. It was lackluster, at first glance.  To date there have been four articles published on this website:

  • "March Jobs Report better than March 2017" detailed how the total CPS (Current Population Survey) Jobs level is higher than it has ever been recorded and how unemployment is lower now than during March 1997.
  • "Five Presidents at 14 Months: Jobs" detailed how President Trump has overseen the creation of the largest number of jobs and the largest drop in unemployment levels during the first 14 months of his Presidency than Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama saw during their first 14 months in office.
  • "Shh. Wages are Rising" examined the claims that wages were not rising as much as reported during January. Private Sector wages rose 2.17% to 6.27%, annually, between March 2017 and March 2018, depending upon the sector.
  • "March Multiple Jobs Workers Step Back" detailed how even though we have elevated levels of people working multiple jobs, there are fewer people working multiple jobs this March as compared to last March and February of this year.

The question is which sectors are doing the best?

Ten Sectors Improved over Last Month and over Last March.  This column has published numerous articles on the incomplete recovery from the "Great Recession." What we have seen recently is that sectors are improving over last year's level of workers for the same month of the year. January was better than January of last year. February was better than February of last year. This March was better than last March, with the exception of the Information Technology (IT) Sector.

Five Sectors have fewer workers than prior to the Great Recession. The Mining and Logging Sector (M/L,) Construction, Manufacturing, Government, and the IT sectors have fewer workers than during March 2008. We are seeing improvement from March 2010 with regard to the Construction sector and the Manufacturing Sector. One sector is still down from the levels recorded during 2010. Government has fewer workers now then during March 2010.  The largest gains since the recession have been in Leisure and Hospitality (the lowest paid sector) and the Education and Health Services sector. This may explain a large part of the sluggish annual wage growth.

Minor Revisions to prior data. The CES data underwent major revisions after the December Jobs Report, both the NSA adjusted data and the SA data.  Both months saw minor upward revisions to the NSA CES data which "lowered" the growth for March.

We have more workers now than during March of 2017.  We do not have the most workers ever, as we had the most jobs ever this month, because the CES worker data is different from the CPS jobs data. Wages are up. Unemployment is down. Virtually all sectors are doing better this March than last March.

It's the economy.