Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

Men at Work during March. What a Concept!

The March Jobs Report was not as good as expected or projected. It was better than March 2017. That is not receiving any attention. This was the best first fourteen months under  a President since President Reagan. That is not receiving any attention. Weekly wages were up for all sectors at a rate of 2.4% to 4.2% annually, depending on sector. This was not reported. Good news does not garner headlines. Ten sectors added workers last month. Ten sectors had more workers than during March 2017. Guess what? That wasn't reported either. Fewer workers are working multiple jobs. Who knew? There has been considerable discussion since the 2012 election regarding the "War on Women" and whether or not there are "binders filled with womens resumes." The untold story, elsewhere, is that the Great Recession was a "War on the Male Worker." More men lost full-time jobs than women did. Women had recovered all of their lost full-time jobs by February 2015. Whether or not men have recovered their lost full-time jobs depends on the month of the year.

Women shed 243,000 full-time jobs last month. You probably did not read that anywhere else. Women also added 395,000 part-time jobs.  The  data on the women's workforce is found in the Household data, table A-2.  The unemployment level for women fell 216,000 workers. Women lost full-time jobs and did not boost the unemployment level. Were they working seasonal jobs? Did they move from seasonal full-time jobs to seasonal part-time jobs in the same organization? Too many questions can be asked. The general trend is higher. Women added nearly 500,000 full-time jobs and nearly 200,000 part-time jobs since March of 2017.

Men added 267,000 full-time jobs last month.  This is significant. It is not just significant because the full-time jobs gained by men offset those lost by women, it is significant because there are more men working full-time jobs this month than there were working full-time jobs during July 2007. Men lost over 10 million full-time jobs between July 2007 and January 2010. It took men until July 2016 to recover all of those lost jobs, then they lost them again at the end of the Summer of 2016.  They recovered those lost jobs by the Summer of 2017, then they were Scrooged at the end of the year.  Men have added 1.362 million full-time jobs since March of last year. Men have added 194,000 part-time jobs since last March.  This is not receiving any attention. The Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector has added 306,000 workers during the past 12 months. Construction jobs are up 246,000 workers over last year. Manufacturing has added 25,000 workers since March 2017.  Mining and logging has added 62,000 workers during the same period of time. These are traditionally male dominated sectors. Be careful to infer too much. The CPS data used to calculate full-time and part-time jobs is the Current Population Survey, Household, data and the data used to measure worker changes is the Current Employment Statistics, or Establishment, Data.

More Non-Participants than Unemployed Workers for both Men and Women. The unemployment level is part of the participation level. A full-time worker, and part-time worker, or an unemployed worker are all participants. We could have 160,000,000 FT workers, 160 million part-time workers, 160 million unemployed workers, or any combination thereof, and we would have 160 million participants. The participation rate fell as the unemployment rate fell and the other way around. We can have unemployment fall and employment rise and participation rise if more jobs are added to the economy than unemployed workers are "subtracted" from the economy.  The participation rate is lower for men and for women than it was during March of 2008.  If we had that same participation rate, a participation rate below the peak participation rate, we would have over 4 million more male workers and over 3 million more female workers in the workforce.These are the missing participants. There are more male missing participants than unemployed workers. There are more missing female participants than unemployed female workers. We are not at full employment. The "true" unemployment rate for men is closer to 9% than 4.4%. The "true" unemployment rate for women is closer to 7.5% than 3.5%.

The data is the data. The headline data is the seasonally adjusted data. The real data is the non-seasonally adjusted data. This March jobs report was better than the March 2017 jobs report, and that is what is becoming even more glaringly apparent the further the data is examined. Full-time jobs are up. There are more workers in every sector than there were in those sectors last month or last March. More men are working full-time jobs than last month or last March. Women saw a huge surge in part-time jobs this March. There is still a long way to go to get back to pre-recession participation.

It's the economy.