Reclaiming Common Sense

This column has written a series of columns regarding the Employment Situation Report. Regular articles include the Employment Situation Forecast Article, the Employment Situation Results Article the "Four Presidents at __ Months" Article, and the "Red, Gary and Blue" Article. The employment data can be analyzed many different ways.

We have an aging workforce. We can break down the data by age group. We can break it down by those employed and those unemployed. We can examine the changes in the workforce population. When these components are combined in different way we can examine the participation rate (the portion of the workforce population that are either employed or unemployed) and the unemployment  rate (the fraction of the participants who are unemployed.)We have seen the number of employed and unemployed workers over the age 60 increase steadily since prior to the recession. What is also noticeble is that seen a fairly steady decrease in the number of people working between the ages of 40-59 years of age. We have 19.727 million people working past the age of 60.

We have seen a drop in those working between the ages of 35 to 54 years of age. Some of this can be related to aging out of the age bracket. People who were 35-39 years of age are now either 40-44 years old or 45-49 years old. We have seen a drop of 4 million workers between the age of 40-49 years old. We have added over 7 million workers who are older than the age 55.

The Fastest growing sectors of the Workforce Population are those over the age of 55. We have seen a steady decline in the number of people in the workforce 35-39 years old, 40-44 years old, and 45-49 years old. The stair-step progression indicates that some of this is do to aging and the passage of time. There was a slight September 2012 recovery for those 35-39 years old and 40-44 years old. The problem is that the number of people 35-49 years of age has dropped by 4.5 million. Those between 55-64 years of age has skyrocketed by 8.6 million.

There are more people who are unemployed now than there were during July 2007. The workforce population has grown. The number of workers has grown. It makes sense that the number of unemployed workers will rise, too. What is getting very little play is that the number of unemployed workers has risen for those 25 years of age through 54 years of age over the past year. Notice that the percentage of people who are unemployed have grown by double digits since 2007. The number of unemployed workers over the age of 70 and over 75 years of age has skyrocketed.

The Workforce Participation rate has been falling for years - for those 16-60 years old. The good news here is that there has been some recover in the participation rate for those 16-54 years old since last September. We did see a drop on participation for those 55-59 years old since last September. We have strong participation for those 20-59 years of age. The problem is that we are seeing a drop in the participation rate between the ages of 20-24 (college graduate ages)  and those between the ages of 35-49 (late child bearing ages.)Notice that we have the participation rate for those 55-59 decreasing while the number of participants is increasing. There are more workers than jobs in this age group.

The Unemployment rate for those 20-29 years old is higher than the national Average of 4.80%. We have seen an increase in the unemployment rate for those over the age 25 since the Fall of 2007. The unemployment rate for almost every age group is higher than it was during September 2007. The unemployment rate is up for almost every age group since September 2015.

This is but one analysis. If you examine the past few jobs reports you will find that worker creation is slower this year than 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.We have fewer men working full-time jobs than we had working full-time jobs during 2007. We consistently have had more people working two-part-time jobs, month after month, this year compared to prior years, using same month data. We have entire sectors of the workforce that have fewer workers now than during September of 2007.

Spread the news.  As Ronald Regan would say "(a) Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when (we start participating again.)"