Reclaiming Common Sense

(May 1) The first article this week was the "April Jobs Report Forecast: Popping Good." It was thought that unemployment could drop significantly. It was thought that we could add over 1 million non-seasonally adjusted CES private Sector workers. It was thought that we could see a spike in full-time jobs. It was thought that the seasonal factors would cause the seasonally adjusted CPS jobs data to go negative and cause the seasonally adjusted participation rate to fall.

(May 2) The second forecast article of the week was the ADP forecast. "April ADP Forecast: Up for All Sectors" saw the possibility that The month to month annual ADP growth rate, and the same month levels, have been up, even after the massive revisions to the ADP data. There was concern that the month to month growth could be down for Construction. There was concern that the April to April growth might be down for Natural Resources. These are the "dirty fingernail jobs" that have been doing well, so that was dismissed.

(May 3) Wednesday was the release day for the ADP Payroll Report. The "April ADP Report Revealed Growth in Good Producing Sectors." We saw month to month seasonally adjusted payroll decrease in the Trade, Transportation and Utility Sector as well as the Information Sector. We also saw an April to April decline in Information payroll, too. The ADP number came in at 205,000.

(May 3) Unemployment is falling. The Thursday Weekly Unemployment Claims Report is still produced. We saw the "Lowest First-time Unemployment Claims Level Since September 23, 1973" recorded this week to a level of 186,049. Under 300,000 seasonally adjusted (SA) first-time unemployment (FTU) claims used to be the sign of a healthy economy. What will they do when it drops under 200,000 SA FTU? If you don't believe me that the NSA FTU level dropped below 200,000, again, here is the link to the report.

(May 5) Unemployment Levels dropped to the lowest April Level, Non-seasonally Adjusted, since April 2000. "April Jobs Report: Unemployment Level under 6 Million" details how, as anticipated, unemployment fell so much that it caused the seasonally adjusted Participation rate to fall, even as we added 916,000 non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) full-time jobs, according to the Current Population Survey Data, and we added 988,000 NSA Current Employment Sector Workers.


(May 5)  Week in Review


(May 7) One aspect of the monthly retail report that has received considerable attention lately is the average weekly wage. The problem is that the weekly wage data that is published in the monthly report is the seasonally adjusted average. There are ten sectors that have seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) weekly wages published. There are ten average weekly wages. "Record Weekly Wages this April" goes into the details of how three sectors have seen remarkable growth in workers and how those same sectors have three of the four lowest weekly wage averages.

(May 8) A regular article on this website is the "Five Presidents at __ months" article. This column originated when there was more than a year left in President Obama's term in office and he was being compared with President Clinton for job creation. "Five Presidents at 15 Months: Winning" compares President Trump with Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama at the same point in their Presidencies.

(May 8)  The jobs report is often based on the headline seasonally adjusted Current Employment Statistics (CES) "jobs" number. This jobs number is actually a worker number. The true "jobs" number is the Current Population Survey (CPS) number. The CES data tells us which sectors added workers during a given month. "All Sectors Added Workers This April" examines the ten super sectors in the private sector and the government sector NSA CES worker data.

(May 9) The fourth article that examined the April Jobs Report examined how men and women are doing in this economy, and how they were doing during the "Great Recovery." "Men and Women are Winning This Month" examined the CPS data and compared the full-time and part-time jobs level, as well as the participation rate and unemployment levels of men and women compared with the pre-recession peak of July 2007.

(May 9) Another piece of data that is available in the monthly employment situation report is the number of people working multiple jobs. We saw the number of multiple workers drop month to month and yet increase from April to April. "April Multiple Job Workers Up from April 2017" details how we have over 2 million people working two part-time jobs and how 4.2 million workers are working a primary full-time job and a secondary part-time job.

(May 10) The Unemployment claims data are so low, both first-time unemployment and continuing unemployment, that they are starting to receive some attention. "Seriously Low Unemployment Claims Data, Again" details the historically low level of first-time claims for the first week of May and the seriously low continuing claims level for the final week of April. How low can these measures fall? Will they receive headlines when we reach all-time lows?

(May 10)  Some important information on inflation was received this week. The April CPI data revealed more of the same. We are seeing Shelter Inflation, Service Inflation, and Commodity Deflation. The April Inflation was higher than April 2017. "April Inflation: Low by Historical Standards" shows how this month's inflation rate was lower than it was during April 2005, April 2006, April 2008, April 2010, and April 2011.


(May 11) Next week we will receive the April MARTS (Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Survey) Data. We are a consumption based economy. We had a record retail sales year during 2017. We had our best non-seasonally adjusted January retail month ever, the best February NSA retail month ever, and the best March retail month ever. We are not in a "Retail Ice Age."  "April Retail Renaissance Forecast" discusses how we could be heading to our first ever $6 trillion dollar retail sales year.

(May 11) Next week we will start receiving real estate data from April. The April New Construction data will be released  May 16th with the new home sales data and the existing home sales data May 23rd. We had a housing recession that led to a jobs recession that led to a retail recession. The retail recession reinforced the housing recession and the jobs recession. We have recovered, as a whole from the retail recession. We have recovered, in part, from the jobs recession. Total jobs and total workers have increased from the July 2007 level, while some sectors are still lagging. We have not recovered form the new home recession. We have not recovered from the existing home recession. Units sold are still lower than they were during 2005 and 2006. New construction is even lower than it was during the 1980s and 1990s.  "April  Real Estate Forecast: Up" projects an increase in new home starts, new home units under construction, new home completions, and new home sales." Existing home sales is a "crapshoot" because we have historically low inventory.


(May 12)Week in Review


(May 14) The week started up with another follow-up to the March Employment Situation Report. While we just received the April Jobs Report, the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) report for March was just released.  The article "Record Job Openings. So What" revisited the article written for the March Jobs report. There was much noise regarding how many job openings we have that are unfilled. The sectors that have the most job opening had the moist quits and are the lowest paid. Shocker.

(May 15) 
We are a consumption based economy. The monthly MARTS retail report was released this week. This report is the second most unloved report of the week. The most unloved report of any week is the weekly unemployment claims data. "Record April Sales Data" reveals how this was the best April MARTS report ever. This followed the best report for March, February, and January. This followed the best retail sales year ever for 2017.

(May 16)
The Jobs Report for any month is often considered the "most important" economic indicator for the month. The New Construction, New Home Sales, and Existing Home Sales data are also important. "April New Construction Surged" is the first of three articles on the April Real Estate market. New Home Starts  were at the highest for April since April 2007. Units under Construction were near the record high, being the fifth best April since 1973. Units completed were also the best since April 2007. There were some surprises in the data. The Current Year data and the Rolling Year data are pointing for more good times to follow. Wages are rising, as was reported last week. Higher wages and lower taxes should be good for the retail market.

(May 17)
The most unloved economic report was released this Thursday. We received "Another Remarkable Unemployment Report" this week. The seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment claims data receives the headlines when they receive headlines. The continuing claims data should have been in the spotlight. The non-seasonally adjusted continuing claims data fell, dramatically, to 1.591 million claims. When we see the continuing claims data this low it is normally during October or November, not May.  Could we see 1.25M by November? Oh, and the first-time claims number, unadjusted, was under 200,000 claims, again.


(May 19)Week in Review


(May 21) There has been considerable discussion regarding wage growth, or the lack thereof, with the release of the monthly jobs report. The mainstream media is attempting to dictate a "Goldilocks" pay raise. Is an annual raise 2.9% good enough? Is 3.1% too hot? "April Wage Data Really Was That Good" details how the data that is published in the monthly jobs report is misleading. Wages are up. Workers are up. Gross annual wages, and therefore gross annual spending, are up.How hot a wage you are receiving depending on the sector in which you work.

(May 22) The Media conflated two concepts in one misleading headline that I heard on the radio. Ten thousand people are turning 65 each day this year. People who are 65 normally retire each year. QED ten thousand people are retiring each day. "Are 10,000 People Retiring Daily" is the headline for this month's installment of the "Red, Gray, and Blue" series. Are we really seeing 3.65 million people retiring each year? If so, why do we have record levels of people over the age of 60, 65, 70,  and 75 years of age working? Hint: the article that was being misrepresented also said that while 10,000 people are turning 65 each day, many of them are delaying retirement.

(May 23) Last week we received solid New Construction data, the best since 2007, still weak by historic, pre-housing recession, standards. We saw an record April Average Sales Price set.  We also saw over 60,000 units sold, comparable to what we saw during April 1992 and higher than the April data for 2008 through 2017. "April New Home Sales Surged" goes into the details.

(May 24) Thursday we received some seriously good unemployment data. It was ignored by the mainstream media. "Weekly Unemployment Claims Bode Well" detailed how the first-time claims number is still near historic lows for the current week of the year. The continuing claims data that was reported this week were recorded during the time closest to the collection of the May Employment Situation Report collection date. How low can the official U-3 level unemployment level fall this month? Remember that the weekly claims data measures those who are still receiving benefits and the U-3 level measures those who are out of work, looking for work, and may not be receiving unemployment benefits.

(May 24) If you have a home to sell, or if you want to buy an existing home, then you know that inventory has been an issue for a considerable period of time. "Seriously Good April Existing Home Sales Data" explains how April sales, non-seasonally adjusted, were up over April 2017. That wasn't what was reported elsewhere because they focus on the seasonally adjusted data. The rolling year sales data improved every so slightly compared to April 2017. The current year data is trending almost identically to where we were last April, even with a slightly lower inventory level. Inventory did spike this past month. Oh, and we set an Average Sales Price record for April. Other than that....


(May 26)Week in Review


(May 28) The Monthly Employment Situation is normally released the first Friday of the Month. This column writes a pre-report forecast article. It was projected that full-time jobs would rise, part-time jobs could fall, and that the level of unemployed workers could drop below the levels recorded during May 1999, May 2000, or May 2001.


(May 28) The Monthly ADP Payroll report is released the Wednesday prior to the Monthly Employment Situation Report. "ADP Forecast: Gains in All Sectors" projected that there should be month to month gains in all of the ADP payroll private sector classes. There was a thought that there could be a May to May decline in the Information Technology Sector.


(May 30) The May ADP Payroll report was released on Wednesday morning. "May ADP: Mixed Messages" details how the month to month growth rate, seasonally adjusted, was a little slower than expected. The annual growth rate was also lower than expected. The month to month data was up for all sectors except for the Trade, Transportation, and Utility Sector. The Annual, May to May data was up for all sectors except Information Technology.


(May 30) Every three months we receive the "Advance GDP report. The next month, this month, we received the "preliminary GDP report." "GDP Revisions: Do They Make Sense" examined the slight downward revisions to the Same Quarter GDP data and the quarter to quarter GDP data. Even after monthly non-seasonally adjusted Retail sales were upwardly revised, the personal consumption expenditure data remained weak.


(May 31) Just read "Weekly Unemployment Claims Challenging 1973 Levels."


(May 31)  The GDP data did not make sense. "Is Retail Growth Undervalued in Recent GDP data" explained why it didn't make sense.