Reclaiming Common Sense

This column has written a series of article comparing the four most recent two-term Presidents at the same point during their presidencies. Now it is time to compare those four Presidents with President Trump. The format is slightly different right now because we only have two months of data from the President Trump Administration. The data is collected on or around the 12th day of the month. President Obama was still President January 12th. Last month this column focused on the participation rate. This month this column will look at the "Jobs Iceberg" and the Effective Unemployment rate, or U-7.

We have More Jobs than we had at the peak of the Pre-Recession Economy.  The Great recession was really a combination of recessions, the housing recession,  the jobs recession, and the retail recession. The housing recession began during 2005 when we had peak units sold and sped up during 2006 when we had peak average sales price for existing homes. The jobs recession started during 2007 with peak employment, picked up speed during the Summer of 2008 when we did not exceed the employment levels of July 2007, and kicked into overdrive after Hurricane Ike and the Ike Spike in gasoline prices. The retail recession started at multiple points in time depending upon the sector. 

We lost 14.6 million full-time jobs by January 2010. We did not recover those lost jobs until the Summer of 2015. We lost those new full-time jobs at the end of 2015, recovered them, and lost them again by the end of 2016.We have added more part-time jobs than full-time jobs since July 2007.The March Employment Situation Report was a "Crazy March Jobs Report." It was crazy because the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA)  current employment statistics (CES) data was very weak - comparable to March 2001 and March 2008. The Current Population Survey (CPS) data, which measures the level of full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and unemployed workers, was one of the strongest reports since 2003. That same article pointed out that while the unemployment rate for March 2017 was comparable to that of March 2007 (4.56% vs 4.54%) the participation rate during 2007 was 65.89% versus this month;s 62.86%. If people are not participating then they are effectively unemployed.

Participation Matters. President Obama had one of his highest participation rate when he took office, President Reagan had one of his lowest when he took office. If President Trump had the same level of participation as these two President he would have 1.7 million to 6.5 million more participants. We are missing 7.5 million to 10.7 million participants based upon the participation rates of Presidents Reagan and Bush during their second month in office.  The effective unemployment rate, comparing to President Reagan is 8.28% and 8..95% compared to President Obama. This is a massive improvement over January 2017 when the effective unemployment rate for President Obama exceed 9.98%.

Unemployment is down, participation is up, and jobs are being created. The upcoming articles in this column will examine sector growth, the impacts on the male and female workers, the impact on people by age group, and the number of people working multiple jobs.

It's the economy.