Reclaiming Common Sense

The March Jobs Report was released last Friday. It was reported elsewhere that this was a weak jobs report. The jobs report was weak - the jobs report data, on the other hand, was quite strong. This column has already published the articles "Crazy March Jobs Report," which detailed how we added over 1 million non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) Current Population Survey (CPS) jobs during March, "The Start of Another Reagan Recovery," which detailed how the number of missing participants is falling as the unemployment rate is falling and the participation rate is improving, and "Record March Multiple Job Levels," which detailed how we have over 8 million people working two or more jobs and over 2 million people working two or more part-time jobs. The ADP jobs report was released prior to the government jobs report. The ADP report revealed that we saw growth in nine out of ten sectors. Please note that ADP does not factor in Government jobs. So what did the current employment statistics (CES) data have to say about the ADP sector data? Ten out of eleven sectors, including government, added workers last month. Where were the headlines? They were buried by seasonally adjusted data.

We Saw Ten Sectors add Workers During March. The only sector that did not add jobs was the Information and Technology Sector. There are two primary ways of examining the data: growth in real terms, thousands of jobs, and growth in relative terms, percentage growth. The table at the end of this article shows that the Leisure and Hospitality Sector added the most workers this past month, with 129,000 workers added. The sector that saw the largest percentage month to month growth was mining with 1.79% growth. This was closely followed by Construction with 1.65% growth. It is good to see growth in these two sectors because they have been lagging since the Great Recession.

We saw Annual Growth in Ten of Eleven Sectors. Once gain, the Information Technology Sector saw a decrease in workers.   The two sectors that saw the largest addition of jobs were Professional and Business Services, with over 600,000 workers added, and Education and Health Services which added over 500,000 workers. The largest percentage growth  sectors were Professional and Business Services, Construction, and Health and Education.

Six Sectors Still have Fewer Workers than They Had Prior to the Recession.      The "most interesting" sector is the Mining and Logging sector. Here you can see from the first histogram that this sector lost jobs during the recession, regained those jobs, expanded, and then contracted to levels lower than they had prior to the recession.  Construction has seen improvement in worker levels every March since March 2011. We have seen a surge in new construction units under construction. That surge has not necessarily led to a spike in units sold. Some of this is due to an increase in multi-family construction. There is an existing home shortage that could  consume some of the new home construction supply.

The Manufacturing, Financial Services, and Government Sectors are slowly coming back to pre-recession levels. Manufacturing has the hardest "lift" remaining.  We had 1.3 million more manufacturing workers during March of 2008 than March 2017. We had almost 2 million more manufacturing workers during March 2006 than March 2017 . The Government Sector is just 269,000 workers away from its peak worker level. Financial Services probably saw a seasonal surge due to the upcoming tax filing period for personal taxes.  This sector is only 150,000 to 160,000 workers away from its peak worker level.  The data does not lie. Statistics tell the true story.

It's the economy.