Reclaiming Common Sense

January Jobs Report - Strength in the CES worker Data

Strength in the Wages and Worker Data

The January Jobs report is marked by the situation that we will have very different Non-Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) data and Seasonally Adjusted Data story-lines. There are two data sets that go into the jobs report, or employment situation report, and they measure different things. The Current Population Survey (CPS) jobs and unemployment data and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) workers and wages data. Normally January brings seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted data revisions for the CES data and only revisions to the seasonal factors, and therefore only the seasonally adjusted data. We were advised months ago that the seasonally adjusted CES data was going to be revised down for the CES data with downward revisions for both the Private Sector CES data and the Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) CES data.  We did not trim as many NSA CES workers as expected.

It was expected that we would record January to January growth in all sectors.This month we saw a growth rate of 1.64% and 206,000 seasonally adjusted private sector workers added to the workforce. The largest growth was recorded January to January were in TTU, Construction, PBS, and Information (IT.) We saw 19,000 SA Government sectors added to create a non-farm payroll number of 225,000.

We have a record level of non-seasonally adjusted CES private sector workers for the month of January. The peak pre-recession Current Population Survey Jobs level was July 2007. The peak CES worker level was June 2007. There were fewer NSA CES private sector workers during January 2016 than we had during July 2007. We now have 8.6 million more workers than we had during either of those months. "All" recession are jobs and workers recessions. We have 2.3 million more NSA CS workers this Jnaury than we had last January.

We were expected to see the Non-Seasonally Adjusted CES  record December to January declines in all Sectors.  We saw a drop of 1.82%  month to month. This was the smallest January drop since January 1984. We saw the largest declines in  TTU, Construction, PBS, LAH, and Government. We have record levels of January workers in all but three sectors: Manufacturing, Construction, and Information (IT.) Education and Health Services (EHS) workers have overtaken Government workers as the second most "populous" work sector. Manufacturing workers are up

All Sectors have added workers under President Trump. The sectors hat have added the most workers under President Trump have been EHS, PBS, LAH, and Construction. The Manufacturing sector, with 460,000 more workers, TTU with 371,000 workers, and Financial Services (FIRE) with 273,000 workers. Even the IT sector has added workers.


We saw seasonally adjusted workers added month to month in all sectors except Manufacturing.  The largest growth rates were in Construction, EHS, OS, LAH and IT. We saw a similar story reported in the January to January data. The largest growth was reported in EHS, LAH, Construction, PBS, and IT. The only sector that reported January to January declines was M/L.

Wages were expected  rise, hourly, and total wages. Hourly wages have been rising at 3% for basically a year. More of the same was expected. When the average wage for workers is multiplied by the number of workers working, and both grow, the impacts are synergistic.

All Sectors received hourly wage increases between 1.49% and 4.98%. Education and Health Services received the 1.49% pay raise, on average, while M/L came in at 4.98%. The overall average wage gain was 3.03%, and the Manufacturing sector, IT, PBS, TTU, FIRE, and LAH sectors all received increases over 3.03%.

Hours decreased across the board. This could be because "more hands make lighter work." It could be that there was less work that needed to be done. Remember that we saw a huge drop in FT jobs, and that this drop in FT jobs is known as the "January Effect."

Total Wage Earned increased for every sector except Mining and Logging. The largest growth in total wages was recorded in EHS, LAH, PBS, and Construction.

The seasonal factors stole over 200,000 workers from the headline number. The revisions stole half a million workers from President Trump's accomplishments. The revisions were primarily to the 2018 data. It should be noted that the 2015 data was revised lower from its December levels, and that means that even though the 2016 was "revised lower" it bounced off of a lower 2015 level for a net increase in workers. Also note that 2017 was revised lower by a greater amount hat 2015 or 2016, meaning that the bounce in 2016 was more pronounced. Hmm. Data from 2017, 2018, and 2019 were revised lower while data from 2016 was revised higher from the values klast reported last month.

Four Sectors revised significantly lower, while two notably revised higher from their December values. We saw the largest downward revisions in the TTU, PBS, EHS, and LAH sectors. The largest upward revisions were in FIRE and IT. Remember that we have the largest amounts of JOLTS Job Openings, Hires, Separations and Quits in LAH, EHS, PBS and TTU, month in and month out.

How is President Trump doing compared to former Presidents Reagan, Clinton George W Bush, and Obama? This will be covered in the Five Presidents article.  The CES data, as well as the CPS data, shows that President Trump's main competition after 36 months in office is former President Clinton.

It's the Economy.