Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

The June Jobs Report caught some people off-guard. The Current Employment Statistics (CES) worker data showed a huge spike in non-seasonally adjusted (NSA)workers. The Current Population Survey (CPS) data, NSA, recorded a huge spike in full-time jobs, a significant drop in part-time jobs, and a massive spike in U3 unemployed workers.  The unemployment rate edged higher as more people re-entered the job market. The CPS survey respondents were basically answering that they were looking for work and unable to find it. So far this column has published the following articles:

It was projected that the number of multiple job workers should decline this June as it did during June 2017. It was thought that there would be a spike in full-time jobs, a decrease in part-time jobs, and that some of the people working two part-time jobs would replace those jobs with one full-time jobs. Full-time jobs did spike. Part-time jobs did fall. The missing story this past Friday was that Multiple Job Holders increased from the May levels, and that there were more people working a primary FT job and a secondary PT job, as well as a near record high for the month of June for those working two FT jobs. This spike in "MJH" was noted on my Twitter feed on Friday. So what was recorded and what was reported regarding multiple job holders?


What happened with the multiple Jobholder levels this month? There are two places in the report where you can find information on the multiple Jobholder (MJH) data, Table A-9 has the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) and seasonally adjusted (SA) MJH data for total jobs. Table A-16 has the NSA data for total MJH, FT FT, PT PT, FT primary PT secondary, and "hours vary." This hours vary category is not the number generated when the FT FT, FT PT, and PT PT numbers are subtracted from  the Total  MJH value. There is a remainder which must be a lower paying FT job and a higher paying "primary" part-time job, or PT FT. This column actively ignores the "hours vary" data and calculates a PT FT value. This month there were 1.032 million "hours vary" and 1.089 million PT FT workers. What happened in the other categories?


The total number of Multiple Job workers edged higher from 7.411 Million to 7.457 million, NSA. We were over 8 million total MJH multiple times during 2017. The month to month numbers had been declining with some months being higher than the same month last year.  It is possible that some of the people who do not have jobs are competing with those who already have one job, or more. A casual observer would think that the MJH number is skewing the participation rate lower. The participation rate deals with FT and PT jobs and unemployed workers. The participation rate "doesn't care" if one person or two persons are working two jobs. You could have a person working two FT jobs or have one person working FT and the other unemployed an it would still be the same number of participants - Two. 


The number of people working a Full-time Job and A part-time job edged higher during June.  Here were 4.136 million FT PT workers this past month, up from 4.062 million during May 2018 and up from 4.014 million during June of 2017. This level is the highest level of FT PT workers since 1998.


The Number of people working two part-time jobs dropped month to month and increased June to June. The drop in part-time jobs was reflected in a drop of PT PT workers from 1.951 million during May 2018 to 1.872 million during June of this year. Last year we had 1.997 million PT PT workers during the month of June. WE had over 2 million PT PT workers, NSA, February through May and August through December of 2016. WE had over 2 million PT PT workers during February through May 2017 and also September of 2017. We were over 2 million January through April of this year. Things appear to be improving unless you like working two part-time jobs. 


The number of people working two FT jobs spiked month to month and June to June.  May to June the number of FT FT workers spiked from 294,000 to 360,000. This is the second highest ever June recording of FT FT MJH workers. Part of this is the change in the size of the workforce since 1994:

  • 1994-196.7M  workforce population, 101.4M FT, 22.4M PT, 8.2M Unemployed
  • 2005-225.0M workforce population, 118.7M FT, 23.7M PT , 7.8m U-3
  • 2018 257.6 M WFP, 129.9M FT, 26.5M PT, 6.8M U-3.

We have 32 million potential workers since 2005 and 11.2 million more full-time jobs. The spike of nearly 1 million NSA FT jobs during June "required" that some people work two FT jobs. More men worked two FT jobs while more women work two PT jobs during June 2018. (Table A-16)


The spike in multiple job workers, or multiple jobholders, could have been foreseen. It was thought that as participation is improving, and as part-time jobs are dropping, that more people would work one FT job instead of two PT jobs. The PT PT job level did drop this month from the May level. The full-time job level jumped this month, as did the FT FT level and the FT PT level. It is possible that some workers are "making hay while the sun is shining." People are working for expenses with a full-time job and savings with their second job, whether it is a FT job or a PT job, or if the "hours vary." Is our workforce aging or are we seeing younger workers entering the workforce? That is for another article.


It's the Economy.