Unemployment is Down - That is not Headline News. It is "so not headline news" that tomorrows ridiculously low unemployment claims data will most likely be ignored, once again. There was a slight uptick in those 55-59 years of age and 70-74 years of age. There are people working who are this old so it makes sense that there are people out of work who are looking for work. What is interesting is that there are more people, right now, who are 30-34 years of age who are unemployed than there were who were unemployed during December 2007. This is part of the prime working age.

 Reclaiming Common Sense

There are some age groups doing better this December than during December 2016. While examining the data it is important to understand that there are "age shifts" that occur every year. One group of people who were in the 25-29 year old age group last year is now in the 30-34 year old age group this year. Happy Birthday.  Congratulation, you are now close to 45 than to 15. It is important to understand that those people who were 25-29 years old during the peak job market are now in the 35-39 year old group. We have seen year over year drops in the 50-54 year old age group the past three Decembers. The good news is those who were 20-24 during 2007 saw improvement in jobs during December 2012 and again during December 2017. We have also seen record levels of those 60-64, 70-74, and 75 years of age and older increase their presence in the workforce.

Older Workers are Participating More than they used to work. This column has written articles, many articles, regarding the U-7 unemployment rate. The U-7 rate is the effective unemployment rate based upon changes in the workforce participation rate. A drop of 1% in the participation rate is more significant than a 1% drop in the unemployment rate. Those who were 45-49 years old were participating at 89.16% during 2007, then 83.38% during 2012, then 75.34% during 2017. They are now 55-59 years of age.  They are still in prime working age. There were some drops in participation between those who were 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, and up between 2007 and 2012 when age shift was factored into the calculation. If it seems like some of the workers are aging where you frequent you are correct.

Older Workforce Population - Older Workers. This column has written regarding the percent of the population and percent of workers. There are interesting trends that could be analyzed.  What is disappointing is that there are few others who do a deep dive into the data. The percentages for the workforce population for those over 60 years of age are at all-time highs. The percentage of workers 60-64 and 70 and up are at all-time highs for December.

The economy is humming along. So far we have seen more workers added during 2017 than we saw during 2016, February to December. President Trump has overseen the most private sectors workers added during his first year in office than President Reagan or Clinton. Presidents Bush and Obama inherited a recession right off the bat. President Reagan had two recessions while in office. President Bush started and finished with a recession. The recovery has been incomplete. Some sectors have recovered, some have not, Women are doing better than men are doing with regard to full-time jobs. Some age groups are doing better than others.

It's the economy.

The December Employment Situation Report, or Jobs Report, was released at 8:30 A.M. EST on Friday January 5th. The report was largely ignored by 7:00 that night, and all but forgotten within the first 24 hours after its release. Where other news sources were reporting on the report, this website was reporting on the data. The jobs report was not as good as expected, or as strong as the ADP jobs report indicated it might be, it was most certainly better than it was reported.

  • "December Jobs Report: 146,000 Workers added or 256,000 Workers" detailed how the seasonal factor impacted the reporting of the change in Private Sector Workers.
  • "Five Presidents at Eleven Months" compared President Trumps Accomplishments to Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush and Obama. President Trump has added more total workers than any of the other four Presidents during their first eleven months in office.
  • Workforce Participation was in decline from the Summer of 2009 through January 2017. Part of the decline was people were no longer employed or unemployed. Part of it was some people were "over-employed." "Multiple Job Workers Up During December" goes into detail.
  • We saw better than expected sector data. Normally we only see improvement in two or three "super sectors" during December as some companies trim seasonal staff and some employers close up shop altogether. "Stronger than Reported Dec. Sector Worker Data" dug into the data and found that four sectors added non-seasonally adjusted workers during December

This has been an incomplete recovery. Men have not added, and maintained, full-time jobs to the peak July 2007 level of full-time jobs. Not all sectors added jobs December 2016 to December 2017. Some sectors are below their December 2007 levels and two sectors are below their December 2009 levels. Some age groups are doing well while others are not.