Are you in a Comey Coma? Is the Media in a Comey Coma?
The week after the release of the Monthly Jobs Report is normally a slow data week.This allows the news to be overrun with various stories that have nothing to do with the economy. When those stories gain steam they are nearly impossible to stop. This week that story was the firing of James Comey as the head of the FBI. This means that, even though we received a decent jobs report just this past Friday, nobody was focusing on economic data. There was more than the headline number in the jobs report. There were changes in the economy for men and women. There were changes in jobs for every sector. There were comparisons that could have been made to the first three months under a sitting President and his predecessors. There was data released regarding unemployment claims. There was data released regarding inflation. there was data released regarding Retail Sales. The house has been quiet this week because every time I hear a story regarding James Comey hitting the airwaves I mute and type. My television has been in a perpetual "Comey Coma."
(May 9) Last week's Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report, spurs considerable analysis. "Five Presidents Month Three, Participation Matters" continues the tradition of the "Four Presidents at __ Months" series that started at month 81 of President Obama's term in office. President Trump has seen the largest drop in unemployment, the largest addition of full-time jobs, and the largest increase in participants during his first three months than Presidents Reagan, Clinton Bush 43, and Obama. What about James Comey?
(May 9) The Jobs report included data regarding job growth by sector. "Broad Based Jobs Surge during April" reported that ten of eleven sectors added workers last month, six have fewer workers than they had during during July 2007, at the peak of the pre-recession jobs market, and that two sectors have fewer workers than April of 2009. What about the one man who was fired by the President?
(May 10) Memes have inspired articles and series for this column. One of the memes was the "War on Women." The irony here is that men have suffered most during the Great Recession. The article "Men Recovered Full-time Jobs during April" caught he eyes of a Twitter Troll. The important things to note here are that the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) CPS (Current Population Survey Data) measures full-time and part-time jobs, that men had lost over 10 million full-time jobs, recovered them, and started losing jobs again last Summer, and that their participation rate has plummeted. They are recovering full-time jobs - they have not expanded their full-time job base this year, yet, they are participating more, and their real unemployment rate is being under-reported. But wait, Democrats who wanted Comey fired when he was picking on Hillary are dismayed that President Trump fired Comey.
(May 11) Another data point that receives little attention is the plight of the people who are working, or have to work, multiple jobs. The column "April Multiple Jobs, Down is Up" details that even though there are fewer people working multiple jobs during April than during March 2017, there are more people working multiple jobs during April 2017 than during April 2016. Down was Up. Comey, Comey, Comey. Marsha, Marsh, Marsha.
(May 11) They still release the weekly unemployment claims report on Thursdays. We are still at 18 year lows (the lowest first-time unemployment claims and continuing claims level since 2000.) The article "How Low Can Unemployment Claims Go" projects potential record lows for the NSA FTU Claims level the week of Labor Day and record low levels for the First Week of October. They may be so low that mainstream media will have to report the recorded values. Look, Comey!
(May 12) Friday was a big release date for economic data. We saw the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report and data as well as the release of the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey (MARTS) report and data.The article "April CPI: Medical Care Services Taking a Bigger Chunk" details how the allocation of spending was significantly changes between April 2015, April 2016, and April 2017. The rate of inflation for Health Insurance was 2.7%. The allocation dropped from 2% of spending to 1%. Medical Care Services saw an inflationof 3%. They say we spent 6% of our income on Medical Care Services last month. We spent less than 1% on Medical Care Services during April 2015 and April 2016. We are spending more and it is costing more. Comey! Squirrel!
(May 12) Retail Sales are Stronger than Last April. Crickets. Maybe it is too challenging to analyze the data for some people. The data, in all fairness, was mixed. Sales dropped from March to April - this is "normal." Sales were up April 2016 to April 2017. Some sectors are seeing rolling years sales drop. Some have weaker sales during the first four months of this year compared to the first four months of 2016. There were significant revisions to the February and March Retail data. Overall the economy is growing faster during the first four month of this year compared to April of last year. "April Retail Down is Up - Revisions Up and Down" goes into the details. But wait, Comey, Nixonian, Watergate.
The economy is improving. We are seeing jobs created. We are seeing unemployment drop. We are seeing participation improve. We are seeing medical inflation. We are seeing increases in retail sales. But, Comey!
It's the Economy, not the E-Comey-y
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