Reclaiming Common Sense

(Nov. 1) The beginning of one month means the review of the prior month. "The Top Ten Articles of October" included five articles on the September Jobs Report,  three week in review columns, one article on the Retails Sales report for September, and the most read article was written regarding "Astonishingly Good Unemployment Claims data."

(Nov. 1) Last month's ADP jobs report was a bit of a head-scratcher as it reported job gains and the official employment situation report reported "jobs" as being lost. Remember that the official "jobs number" is a seasonally adjusted worker number -there is a difference between the two. This month the ADP report headline number was 236,000 jobs being added to the economy after revising the September number downward - it was still positive. "Outstanding October ADP Report" details how the number of jobs are up year over year for nine out of ten categories. It also details how both goods producing jobs and service jobs surged last month.

(Nov. 2) The unemployment claims data has been so low that my thesaurus is running out of superlatives. "Phenomenally Low Weekly Unemployment Claims Data" details how the first-time unemployment claims data for the fourth week of October was lower than the fourth week of October 1970. The same could be said for the third week of October continuing claims data for the third week of October 2017 and the third week of October 1970. The continuing claims data lags the first-time claims data by one week. Could continuing claims drop below 1.5 million within the next two weeks and drop below the Nov. 5 1988 level of 1.542 million?

(Nov. 3) Last month's negative "jobs number" received some attention. This month's upward revisions to the "jobs" data from August and September, the positive preliminary September "jobs" number and the second best September to October Current Employment Statistics "jobs" growth rate since 1980 - sorry that was a disappointment. "Experts" were expecting over 300,000 SA CES workers to be added - the upward revision of 65,000 workers to the September private sector data and the addition of 247,000 SA CES workers during October means that we added 312,000 SA CES workers from last month's advance worker level. "October Workers Soar" started to dig into the details of the data and found that while the official unemployment rate (U3) dropped below 4% non-seasonally adjusted, the "real unemployment rate," the U7 rate, stands at 9.17% when the change in participation from October 2006 to October 2017 is factored into the calculation. There are missing participants who are neither employed nor unemployed according the the Current Population Survey.

(Nov. 4) Week in Review: This week the topics were jobs and unemployment. We received the ADP jobs report on Wednesday. We received the national Employment Situation Report on Friday. We received phenomenally low unemployment claims data on Thursday. The employment situation report reflected a similar trend with the lowest October Unemployment level, non-seasonally adjusted, since October 2000, and a non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate under 4.0%.  The future so bright that the press is wearing shades, with blinders.

(Nov. 6)  The series "Five Presidents at __ Months" compares jobs creation, unemployment, and participation between Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump. This month's installment found that President Trump has added more non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) workers than his predecessors. It found that he has added more NSA full-time jobs than his predecessors. It also found that his participation rate has improved, as did Presidents Reagan and Clinton.

(Nov. 6) Multiple Job Workers have been "over-participating." The number of part-time jobs increased under President Obama. The number of full-time jobs did not return to October 2007 levels, permanently, by the end of President Obama's end of term during January of 2017. Some people chose to work multiple jobs while some people had to work multiple jobs. "Multiple Job Workers Down during October" details how we have the lowest October level of people working two part-time jobs since 2008 and the lowest October level of multiple job workers since 2013.

(Nov. 7) There is a considerable amount of discussion regarding wage disparity between men and women workers. The disparity that is going unreported is that men lost over 10 million full-time jobs at the depth of the recession. Women lost fewer than 4 million full-time jobs. The article "Men (Not) at Work" details how men have seen the creation of only 288,000 full-time jobs since July of 2007 for nearly 12 million more workers. When the drop in participation is factored into the unemployment rate the effective unemployment (U7) rate for men stands at 9.91%. Women have a U7 of 8.21%. Men work more full-time jobs than women. Women work more part-time jobs than men.

(Nov. 8) If you were to listen to the mainstream media you would think that we have fully recovered from the Great Recession. The article "Work Sectors Showing Strength" details how four super sectors of employment have not returned to their October 2007  levels of workers. One sector is worse than it was during October 2009 - and it isn't the Manufacturing super sector.

(Nov. 9) The weekly seasonal adjusted first-time unemployment claims number used to be "breaking news" at 8:30 A.M. on most Thursdays. Now that we have a new President the data is a non-event. The article "More Strong Weekly Unemployment Claims Data" reports on how the first-time claims data for the first week of November 2017 was lower than what was recorded during November of 1970 and November 1971. It also reports how the continuing claims data was lower for the fourth week of October than it was during October of 1970 or October 1971. By the way, we have more than 80 million more covered insured workers now than we had during 1973. The data isn't available for 1970 or 1971.

(Nov. 10) The mainstream media likes to discuss the FACT (False Assertion Considered to be True) that the drop in the participation rate during President Obama's presidency was due to Baby Boomers (people born between 1945 and 1964) retiring. The "Red, Gray and Blue" series, also known as "Our Aging Workforce" details how we have more people over 59 working now than previously recorded. It also details how we have more unemployed workers over the age of 55 than we had during October of 2007. The workforce participation rate for those under the age of 55 is lower now than during October of 2007. The participation rate for those 55 and older is up since October 2007. We have more older workers. We have more older employees.

(Nov. 11) The week after the release of the Monthly Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report, tends to be a slow week for economic data. This slack time allows for a more detailed examination of the Jobs Report Data. The "Week in Review Column" dug into the Jobs data for the first nine months of President Trumps presidency, the "War on (wo)men" series, the Multiple Job Worker series, the "Red, Gray, and Blue" series, and the weekly unemployment claims data.

(Nov. 13) Monday's article focused on the housing data for October for new home construction, new home sales, and existing home sales. The article "October Real Estate Forecast: Silver Linings" detailed how new construction data should continue to climb, new home sales should stay ahead of last year's data, and how existing home sales are being held back by an inventory shortage.

(Nov. 15) We are entering into the busiest time of the year for retail sales. Where other commentaries focus on a "Retail Ice Age," this column has been writing on the real, non-seasonally adjusted, expansion of the retail sector. "Strong, Strengthening October Retail Sales Data" details how only one sector has not returned to pre-recession levels of sales.It also details how the retail sales data is growing at a pace of over 4% and is ahead of where we were last October.

(Nov. 15) Wednesday also saw the release of the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) Data. The CPI measures inflation of common goods and services. "Inflation Stays Steady" explains how the overall inflation rate is low because we are seeing deflation for commodities and inflation for Shelter and Services.

(Nov. 16) Thursday, this week and most weeks, is Unemployment Claims Day. It has been ignored for over a year. This week we saw lower first-time unemployment claims data that we saw during the second week of November during both 1970 and 1971.  This week we recorded fewer continuing claims than during the first week of November 1970 and 1971. "Unemployment Claims Data: Ignore at Your Own Risk" makes the case to start reporting on the data.

(Nov. 17) The week ended where it began with an article on the October New Construction data. Starts were up month to month and October versus October. The Under Construction data followed the same pattern. The biggest surge was in the completions data. "October New Construction Data: Hammering Ahead" shows how we are doing better than last year, and therefore better than 2008-2015. It also shows how we still have a long way to go to return to 2005 levels of sales. It also details how the GDP will be positively impacted by this data and the MARTS retail data.

(Nov. 18) Real estate, Retail Sales, and unemployment claims were the thrust of the November 18 Week in Review.

(Nov. 21) The Existing Home sales data was outstanding - the best since 2007 and approaching pre-peak values seen during 2002 - remembering that peak units sold happened during 2005, pre-recession peak sales prices hit during 2006, and remembering that we have the lowest October inventory since 1999. "October Existing Home Sales Best Since 2006" goes into the details.

(Nov. 22) The weekly unemployment claims data was released on Wednesday this week instead of the traditional Thursday release due to Thanksgiving. The article "Weekly Unemployment Claims: Thankfully Low" looks back at the First-time Unemployment Claims Streak FACT (False Assertion Considered to be True) and the Jobs Streak FACT. Unemployment claims have traditionally spike right around Thanksgiving, and if not for the skewing of the seasonal factors the past two years the 300,000 claims streak would never have gotten going. That said, the continuing claims level is the lowest it has been for the second week of November since the 1960s and the first-time claims data is the lowest it has been for the third week of November since the 1960s. The continuing claims data lags the first-time claims data by one week.

(Nov. 24) Anybody who remembers the 1992 election remembers H. Ross Perot and his "It's the Debt" line. If we eliminate the deficits then we can take care of the total debt. Congress is discussing "only adding"  $1.5 Trillion to the Federal debt over the next 10 year (That would be comparable to what President Obama oversaw during just one year of his presidency - talk about "unpatriotic and Irresponsible." "Federal Budget: When Off-Budget isn't Off-Budget" details how We are running on-budge deficits and off-budget surpluses. It also details how corporate revenue is a small sliver of the whole revenue pie. Isn't it convenient that people in the House of Representatives have two year terms and Senators have six year terms and they cannot balance the budget over  a period of ten years. These are children who wring up heavy debt on their parents charge cards and expect the parents to pay the bills.

(Nov. 25)  Not Much happened this week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. The Week in Review looked at the Existing Home Data, the Weekly Unemployment Claims data, and the Federal Debt.

(Nov. 27) The first piece of good news this week was the October New Home Sales Data Surge Higher. Units Soared. the Average Sales Price Roared

(Nov. 29) The second piece of good news this week were strong revisions to the advance Third Quarter GDP data.

(Nov. 29) We received state and local data on employment and unemployment, including the states of Florida and Texas. The impacts of Hurricanes on their economies were seriously low unemployment rates and record or near record levels of employment in numerous sectors.

(Nov. 30) The third piece of good economic news was ignored "everywhere else." The weekly unemployment claims data was released to zero fanfare. The headline Seasonally Adjusted First time Claims number could have been reported at 190,000 claims if they used the seasonal factors for the same week of November that were used during 2013 and 2014.  The authors of the report are comparing "Apples and Pomegranates."