Reclaiming Common Sense

It's the Economy! Not Emails. Not Hot Mic Moments.

The idea for this column and its predecessor and parallel column, "Reclaiming Common Sense," was conceived while people were talking about how good the economy was as we were hearing about people losing their jobs. Ronald Regan said "(A) Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his." I was out of work and looking for work. I started following the employment situation report on a monthly basis. I found solace when I could not find work because other people could not find work. The workforce participation rate was dropping and we still were in a full-time job hole.

Fast forward to January 2014. My new year's Resolution was to research and write a regular column on the economy. Too much of the data did not make sense. The government lives in seasonally adjusted Land while we live in UnSeasonally Adjusted (USA) Land, also known as reality. I have found a number of detractors since January of 2014. Most of my detractors were people who repeated memes that someone else created. Bush killed the participation rate. President Obama has cut the unemployment rate in half. Longest job creation streak ever. Eighty plus weeks of fewer than 300,000 seasonally adjusted first-time unemployment claims. This column has proved those to be FACTs (False Assertions Considered to be True.)

Some weeks there are an abundance of subjects from which to choose as inspiration for a column or two or five. Some weeks are the weeks between productive weeks. This always this column to dig deeper into previously released data.

(Oct 9) "Can we Seasonally Adjusted Our Income, Please" was written on Sunday. This is rare. Normally the only column written on a Sunday is one that is inspired while I am attending church. This column used the seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) Current Employment Statistics (CES) as a backdrop. The column detailed how we lost NSA CES workers last month and the seasonal adjustments turned that loss into a gain. We normally see seasonal job loss in the September jobs report. That is why the government uses seasonal factors to adjust the data. The problem is that they had to 'invent' a new seasonal factor to make the number sound better than it was. If we would have used the seasonal factor from September of 2012, the previous Presidential Election, the "job gains" would have been reported at 33,000 Jobs.

(Oct 10) A meme that this column tackled many months ago was the one that said President Obama has added more jobs than any other President, other than President Bill Clinton.  "The Era of the Meme: Which President Created More Jobs" was written August 21, 2015.The author of the meme was comparing President George HW Bush (41,) President Clinton, President George W Bush (43,) and President Obama for job creation. They were comparing a one term President and two two-term Presidents at the end of their careers with someone who still had 18 months left in his term. It wasn't fair or balanced. We needed to compare the Presidents at the same point in time during their Presidencies. This was the genesis of the "Four Presidents at __ Months" series. This month we are at "Four Presidents at 92 ." If we had the same participation rate as we did under Reagan, Clinton, or Bush 43 we would have 7.7 million to 9.8 million more participants. If they are not participating they must be unemployed. If they are unemployed then the effective unemployment rate is between  9.66% and 11.77%. 

(Oct 11) Not all jobs are created equally. We saw jobs drop in eight sectors last month. The September Slump is a regular occurence, as previously noted. What is unusual is that there are six sectors will fewer jobs than prior to the recession. "September Eight Sector Worker Slump" details how the mining and logging, manufacturing, construction, Information Technology, financial Services, and Government sectors have fewer jobs than they had during July 2007 - Nine years ago

(Oct 12) A meme that this column addressed the "War on Women."  Written December 11, 2014, the column "War on Women? Men Lost 740,000 Jobs during November"  examined the changes in population, full-time jobs, part-time jobs and unemployment by gender. This week the column "Fewer Men Working Full-time  than July 2007" revisited that analysis and found that women had added full-time and part-time jobs while men have lost full-time jobs and added part-time jobs since July 200

(Oct 13) There are many untold stories with regard to the monthly jobs report. The war on men, the employment sector slumps, and the growth of the multiple jobholder. There has been a uptick in the number of people working multiple jobs. Millions of people are working two part-time jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people are working two full-time jobs. Millions are working a part-time job and a full-time job. We set a record for the number of people working two part-time jobs for the month of September. Why is this so important? If people are losing one job and have another hey do not qualify for unemployment benefits, even if the job they lost was a full-time job. The article "Two Job Economy" goes into more detail.

(Oct 14) One of the other pieces of economic data that this column normally covers during the course of a month is the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade Summary (MARTS) report.   Retail sales are the lifeblood of an economy. Not everybody buys a house during the year. Everyone needs food, clothing, and other retail items. We normally see the NSA Retail data slide during September. This happened this year. The good news is that other than Home Furnishings and Gasoline, retail sales in the remaining sectors were all higher than prior to the recession. The problem is that the Appliance and Electronics Sector and the Home Furnishing sectors will not likely get back to those levels this year.  Furniture Sales are on track for 2005 levels. Electronics and Appliances are on track for the 2012 level which was slightly better than 2005.  "September Retail Slides, Revisions Up and Down" digs into the data. While others are saying sales crept up last month, seasonally adjusted, we know otherwise.

Many years ago the meme "It's the economy, stupid" derailed President Bush 41's re-election. The media is obsessed with what Donald Trump did or did not say or do as a private citizen 11, 20, 30 years ago. They are less obsessed with what Hillary Clinton and her staff said within the past two to eight years. The Director of the FBI presented a good case to prosecute Hillary Clinton for lying to Congress and the destruction of government property and emails. We get crickets.  The number one issue for most Americas is the Economy. We live in the USA not the LSA or the land of FACTs.

It's the Economy! Report on the data not the reports.