Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

Unemployment has spiked for those over 60 years of age. You might not have heard this anywhere else. This unemployment level is not as high as it was during 2005. While the unemployment level is up, the unemployment rate for those over 60 is under the national rate. The unemployment rate for those 60-64 years old is 2.6%, 3.5% for those 65-69 years old, 3.7% for those 70-74 and 2.7% for those over 75 years of age.

Where are our teens? There has been considerable discussion in the MSM that we have record low teen unemployment. We also have fewer teen workers this September than we had during September 2005 through 2008. We have fewer teen workers this September than last September. Employment is down 13.68% from September 2007.


Where are the 40-54 year olds? This group of workers have been depressed since 2009. The 40-44 year olds saw a decline during 2006 and declined through 2015.


Why is Employment up "50%" or more for those over 60 years of age since 2007? There are 49.60% more workers 60-64 years of age this September than September 2007. There are 3.7 million more 60-64 year olds working now than during September 2007. There are 2.5 million more workers who are 65-69 years of age, and over 1 million more workers who are 70-74 years of age. This column has speculated that workers who planned to retire during 2001 had to work until 2008 to recover stock market losses incurred during the DotCom crash. Then it appears that they had to keep working after the Recession of 2008.

Where are our teens? Where are the 40-54 Year Olds?


The September Jobs Report, or employment situation report, was released amidst the drama of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process. Since that time the media has been obsessing over Kavanaugh and ignoring the jobs report. The seasonally adjusted (SA) Current Employment Statistics (CES) private sector number was a gain of 121,000. This normally would not be a great number. The August data was revised up by 69,000 workers which meant that 190,000 SA private sector workers were added to the economy.

  • "September Jobs Soar" covered the headline CES worker data and the Current Population Survey )CPS) Jobs and Unemployment data.
  • "September Wages and Workers: Off to the Races" detailed how wages rocked higher in all categories, according the the CES data, non-seasonally adjusted.
  • "Five Presidents at 20 months" reported that there have been over 6 million full-time jobs added to the economy since President Trump took office, according to the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) Current Population Survey (CPS) Data.
  • "Women Recorded September Job Surge"examined the full-time job (FT,) part-time job (PT) and unemployment status of male and female workers. It also examined the unemployment rates and participation rates by gender.
  • "Multiple Job Workers Up during September" detailed how we saw a jump in people working A full-time and a part-time job, two full-time jobs, and two part-time jobs during September. It also detailed how the numbers should rise through the end of the year.

This recovery has been uneven. Some Sectors are not back to pre-recession levels of workers. Women lost fewer jobs than men and recovered faster than men recovered. The unemployment level is comparable to that of October 2000 except the participation rate is significantly different. We have millions of missing participants. There has been discussion in the mainstream media (MSM) that the participation rate slide under former President Obama was due to retiring Baby Boomers (those born between 1945 and 1964.)  This column has written numerous articles on our "Red, Gray, and Blue" economy. What happened this September?

Participation is down, or unchanged, for those under 55 years of age. If we had the same participation rate that we had during September 2007 there would be one million more workers between 16 and 24 years of age participating. The participation rate for 60-64 year olds, 70-74 year olds, and those over the age of 75 years of age set a September high since 1981. This is going back to the Reagan Era and is covered under the Five Presidents Series.


Participation is lower this September for teenagers than it was during the month of September from 1981 through 2009. The September participation rate this month was 33.2%. It was 32.1% during September 2015, 35.3% during September 2009, and 52.3% during September 2015. The teen participation rate was over 50% from 1973 through 1990.

We are over-participating, or under-participating, by age groups. We are missing millions of participants under the age of 54. The ages who are "most under-participating" are those 16-19, 20-24, and 25-29 years of age. Those who are "over-participating" the most are those over the age of 60. The U-7 calculates the level of participants that we should have if we had the same participation rate this September as we had during September 2007. We are missing over 3 million participants under the age of 55. We have nearly 2 million more senior workers than we had during 2007.


The data was good this month. Wages were up, non-seasonally adjusted. Workers and jobs were up, especially in the part-time jobs category. Unemployment is near the historic lows of October 1999 and October 2000. Remember that we have to factor in the number of full-time jobs and part-time jobs to calculate the unemployment rate. This was a strong report that got buried by the Supreme Court conformation process. We are not at full-employment because we are nowhere near "full-participation." We do not have more job openings than unemployed workers because the unemployment level does not include the "missing participants." We might as well compare the JOLTS job openings with the weekly continuing claims data as compare them to the CPS unemployed worker level. Three different data sets that measure three different "things."


It's the economy.