Reclaiming Common Sense

This was a big week in the news with regard to Hurricane Florence, the weekly unemployment claims data, the CPI Inflation data, the MARTS retail data, the July JOLTS Job Openings Data, and further discussions regarding the August Jobs Report. All of the economic data is pointing towards a strengthening economy. The upheaval that will be created by the Hurricane Season will be reflected in some way, shape, or form in future economic reports. What is important to note is that there are special programs that have been created for situations such as these.

(Sep. 10) This week began where last week concluded with the August Jobs Report Data. How is the current President doing with regard to jobs and unemployment as compared with his predecessors? "Five Presidents at 19 months: Full-time Jobs" shows that the workforce population is growing faster than under former President Obama and Clinton President Trump has added more full-time jobs than former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, or Obama. President Trump has cut the number of unemployed where former Presidents Reagan, Bush and Obama saw unemployment levels increase from the the time that they took office while former President Clinton and President Trump saw unemployment drop after 19 moths in office.

(Sep. 10) They still publish the weekly unemployment claims data. "Just How Good is the Weekly Unemployment Claims Data" explains that the number f people covered insured matters and the number of weeks that the non-seasonally adjusted first-time claims have been under 200,000 people is better this year than during 1973.

(Sep. 11) There has been a considerable amount of attention being paid to the number of Job Openings and the Number of Unemployed workers. These data points are derived from two different surveys and measure two different things. This is like comparing a red apple with a red pomegranate. "Jumping July JOLTS Report" explains this and digs into the job opening, quits, and hires data.

(Sep. 12) This column publishes forecast articles and "results" articles. It is important to understand what could happen in order to measure what did happen. "August Retail Forecast: Over 5% growth" examined the possibilities for month to month, August versus August, and January through August growth potential. We are in a Retail Renaissance. We have been growing at 5% or more during the past few months. The current year data has been ahead of the trailing year data. The data for the current month has been surging.The prognosis was good.

(Sep. 13) This week the non-seasonally adjusted first-time claims level dropped to 161,892. If the seasonally adjusted value was reported under 300,000 we had headline news. This was the 14th week that the non-seasonally adjusted data was recorded under 200,000. This beats the weeks under 200,000 mark set during 1973. "First-time Claims Flashback to 1973" also details how the continuing claims data fell below 1.5 million claims, and how this is better than it was during the first week of September during  1970 and  1971.

(Sep. 14) There has been a considerable amount of attention devoted to weekly wage gains and monthly inflation levels. Are wages keeping up with inflation? "Inflation, What Inflation. August CPI Data" details how the annual rate of inflation dropped from July to August, how we are still seeing commodity deflation and service inflation, how the cost if Medical insurance has been manipulated, and how the August Inflation rate was lower than August 2005, August 2006, August 2008, and August 2011.

(Sep. 14) We are in a Retail Renaissance. The total level of retail sales has increased 5.29% during the past 12 months. Retail sales are up 5.73% January through August this year as compared to the same time during 2017. Total August Sales have increased by 6.85% as compared with August 2017. These data points are remarkable. "Record August Retail, Again" explored the data and found strong growth in non-store retail, furniture/furnishings, Building Material/Garden Equipment, and even Electronics and Appliances. We even saw a surge in Food and Beverage Store sales and food and drinking places sales when a drop was possible.

There is so much happening that visiting the economic data has been placed on the back burner. The East Coast is a mess as a result of Hurricane Florence. The economic data is strong. The reporting on the data has been weak.We are seeing record levels of jobs and workers for the month of August. We are seeing record low levels of unemployment, especially when the changes of workforce population are factored into the equation, inflation is moderate, and retail sales are rocking. For those impacted by the hurricane, there is a special Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program. Information on the program is included in the weekly unemployment claims article from September 13th.  We will see some economic destruction and economic expansion as a result of the hurricane. There was some good news this week, too.

Stay Safe.

It's the economy.