Reclaiming Common Sense

There are many ways to examine the monthly data from the Employment Situation Report. The primary ways are the official, seasonally adjusted "Jobs" number, which can be the "non-farm payroll" number or the "private sector" worker number from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data. Another way to examine the data is the true jobs creation number and unemployment numbers from the Current Population Survey (CPS.) The CPS data measures full-time and part-time jobs. This column spends days digging into the data while "ignoring" the federal analysis. Last Friday this column wrote the articles "Crazy March Jobs Report," which detailed the truth that 1 million non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) jobs were created last month, that participation increased and the unemployment rate decreased, as well as the article "The Start of Another Reagan Recovery," which is a continuation of the "Four Presidents at __ months" series. The Reagan Recovery article detailed how the effective unemployment rate, U-7, has dropped the past two months. Unemployment is dropping while Participation is increasing.These articles were followed by the articles "Record March Multiple Job Levels," and "Ten Sectors Added Workers Last Month." There is so much good news to report and these four columns have only scratched the surface.

The War on (Wo)Men. There was a meme that there was a "War on Women" during the 2012 election. It turns out that the Obama Recovery helped women more than it did men. The first "War on Women" article was written during December of 2014.  There have been numerous columns since that time. The CPS data allows the full-time, part-time, and unemployment data, as well as the population data, to be segmented between men and women. Did you know that there are more female workers than male workers? Did you know that men work more full-time jobs than women and that women work more part-time jobs than men?So what happened this month?

Men are working fewer jobs than they were during July 2007. Men lost over 10 million full-time jobs during the depth of the recession. It took until the Summer of 2016 for men to regain all the jobs they lost. The problem is that the male population level , as well as the female population, have been growing steadily. There are more workers than jobs so the participation rate has fallen for men, women, and the combined workforce. Men are also working more part-time jobs than they were working during July 2007. The changes in the workforce for Construction, Mining and Logging, IT, Financial Services, and Manufacturing have not returned to pre-recession levels. These have been traditionally male dominated industries.

Women are Working More Part-time Jobs and More Full-time Jobs than they were working during July 2007. July 2007 was the peak CPS jobs month prior to the recession. Women peaked a little later.  Women lost fewer jobs than men did. Women recovered quicker than men did. Women had regained all of their lost full-time jobs by December of 2014.

There are more unemployed men than July 2007 - Fewer women. There is a considerable amount of press as how we are experiencing "full-employment." Full-employment is when the unemployment rate is below 5%, traditionally. The problem is that the Workforce participation rate for men and women has fallen as the unemployment rate has fallen. This is where the discussion of effective unemployment rate was started. If we have 5% unemployment at 68% participation   is that the same as 5% unemployment at 63% participation?

We have 4.172 million unemployed men and 3.112 million unemployed women when we have 122.945 million men working and 131.469 million women working, during March 20017.  is that the same as 4.136 Million unemployed men and  3.119 million unemployed women when number of men workers was 122.112 million and the number of women workers was 117.919. These were the number 11 years ago - March 2006. 

Participation impacts unemployment, and vise versa. Men are participating at a rate of 68.91% right now - they were participating at 73.19% during march 2006.Women were participating at 58.91% and unemployed at 4.49%. They are now participating at 57.30% and unemployed at 4.14%. What are the effective unemployment rates?

Supposedly men and women are at "Full-Employment." The male and female unemployment rates are both "officially" below 5%. Men have a U-3 unemployment rate of 4.92% while women have a unemployment rate of 4.14%. Women are winning again. When the missing participants are included in the unemployed category, as is done with the "Five Presidents at __ Months" series then the U-7 unemployment rate jumps to 10.49% and the female U-7 moves up to 6.93%.

The good news is that this data is showing improvement. The number of missing participants is dropping for men and women. The participation rates are increasing month to month. The unemployment rates have been falling month to month. Jobs are being created for men and for women. Everything is relative. If we are better than we were for participation during April 2017 than April 2016, 2015, 2014 or any other April, then we are doing better. It will be a great day when we no longer have missing participants when compared to 2007 levels - then we will truly be growing.

It's the economy.