Somehow A Lot Of The Media Missed This

On March 20, The Washington Times posted an article about the impact of HB2 (also known as the bathroom bill) on the North Carolina economy. Despite much of the media in North Carolina telling you that the bill has hurt the state economically, the actual numbers tell a different story.

Here are some basic facts taken from the article:

Tourism has thrived: Hotel occupancy, room rates and demand for rooms set records in 2016, according to the year-end hotel lodging report issued last week by VisitNC, part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

Meanwhile, North Carolina ranked fourth in the nation for attracting and expanding businesses with the arrival of 289 major projects, and seventh in projects per capita — the same as in 2015, according to Site Selection magazine, which released its 2016 rankings in the March edition.

North Carolina finished first for drawing corporate facilities in the eight-state South Atlantic region, said Site Selection, which uses figures tracked by the Conway Projects Database.

And in November, both Forbes and Site Selection magazine ranked North Carolina the No. 2 state for business climate.

Also unscathed was the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which registered at 5.3 percent in January 2016 and 5.3 percent in January 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The figures released almost exactly a year after the bill’s passage appear to fly in the face of predictions of economic doom made by opponents of HB2. The Center for American Progress estimated in April that the state would lose more than $567 million in private-sector economic activity through 2018.

Obviously the predictions of gloom and doom if HB2 passed were not true. I have stated before that I truly believe if you asked parents of high school children whether or not they wanted members of the opposite sex in their children’s high school locker rooms, the answer would be a resounding NO. I understand that there are a small number of people impacted by this law, but the answer is simply to allow them private changing and restroom facilities. The same people who support ‘safe spaces’ for college students because their candidate lost the last election should at least support private spaces for students and others struggling with their sexuality.

The Number of Americans In The Workforce Has Dramatically Increased

On Friday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the latest workforce participation rate.

The article reports:

The number of Americans either working or looking for work in the past month hit a record high of 160,056,000, the first time this number surpassed the 160,000,000 mark, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last month, there were 159,716,000 Americans in the labor force.

There were 340,000 more Americans who joined the labor force in February, while 176,000 left. The number of Americans not participating in the labor force declined from 94,366,000 in January to 94,190,000 in February. The bureau counts those not in the labor force as people who do not have a job and did not actively seek one in the past four weeks.

The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the population that has a job or actively looked for one in the past month, increased from 62.9 percent in January to 63.0 percent in February.

Because the number of unemployed also went down, the unemployment number also went down from 4.8 percent in January to 4.7 percent.

The article also reported:

The “real” unemployment rate, otherwise known as the U-6 measure, was 9.2 percent in February, which declined from 9.4 percent in the previous month.

This is what the U-6 number has been from January 2005 through January 2016:

This is the true unemployment number, and it needs to continue to decrease.

The Business Optimism That Surrounds President Donald Trump

President Trump has been in office for about two weeks. He has issued a number of executive orders that he believes will help restart the American economy, but he really hasn’t been in office long enough to see very much in terms of results. However, what he has done is increase optimism, which does influence the business climate.

Yesterday the January jobs report was released. Hot Air posted a story.

Here are some of the highlights:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 227,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, and financial activities. …

After accounting for the annual adjustments to the population controls, the civilian labor force increased by 584,000 in January, and the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, was up by 457,000 over the month, and the employment-population ratio edged up to 59.9 percent.

…U.S. job growth surged more than expected in January as construction firms and retailers ramped up hiring, which likely gives the Trump administration a head start as it seeks to boost the economy and employment.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 227,000 jobs last month, the largest gain in four months, the Labor Department said on Friday. But the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.8 percent and wages increased modestly, suggesting that there was still some slack in the labor market.

This is the chart on the workforce participation rate since 2007:

It may be a slow climb, but we are at least moving in the right direction.

Don’t Be Fooled By The Low Unemployment Rate

Bloomberg.com paints a very rosy picture of the December jobs report. They note that the unemployment rate is 4.7 percent.

The article notes the following:

The 156,000 increase in December payrolls followed a 204,000 rise in November that was bigger than previously estimated, a Labor Department report showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 175,000 advance. The jobless rate ticked up to 4.7 percent as the labor force grew, and wages rose 2.9 percent from December 2015.

Please note in the statistics below that the labor force participation rate rose by a tenth of a point–hardly enough to account for the uptick in the jobless rate. The economy is improving, but not currently at a rate that would indicate a recovery during the time that President Obama has been in office.

CNS News has a more balanced report:

The final jobs report of the Obama presidency, released Friday, shows that the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased by 14,573,000 (18.09 percent) since January 2009, when Obama took office, continuing a long-term trend that began well before Obama was sworn in.

In December, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 95,102,000 Americans were not in the labor force, 47,000 more than in November; and the labor force participation rate was 62.7 percent, a tenth of a point higher than in November.

Hopefully as regulations are removed and small businesses are encouraged to grow rather than facing more regulations if they grow, the economy will improve. However, to claim that President Obama presided over an economic recovery is to stretch the truth to the point where it breaks.

The Real Unemployment Numbers

The Obama Administration has proudly announced an unemployment rate of 4.6% for November 2016. That’s nice, but that isn’t the real story.

CNS News posted a story yesterday explaining the 4.6 % number and using some other numbers to put that number in perspective.

The article explains:

Although the “unemployment rate” in the United States for November is 4.6% — a rate last reached 9 years ago in August 2007 – the “real unemployment” rate is much higher, more than double at 9.3% nationwide. 

Real unemployment, or the U-6 number, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers” and part-time workers age 16 and over.

As the BLS explains on its website, the “unemployment rate,” or U-3 number, “includes all jobless persons who are available to take a job and have actively sought work in the past four weeks.”

The other number that is important is the workforce participation rate. The chart below from the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates how that number has changed during the Obama Administration:

workforceparticipationrate1

The article at CNS News concludes:

While the unemployment rate for November 2016 was 9.3%, the last time it was at a level close to that, 9.2%, was in April 2008. From June 2008 through September 2015, the real unemployment rate was in double digits, fluctuating from 10.1% to a high of 17.1% and finally back down to 10.0% (in September 2015).

The real unemployment rate has been in the 9’s since October 2015

The 4.6% unemployment rate sounds wonderful, but since it does not include those Americans who are out of work and no longer looking for work, it is not a meaningful number. The American economy has not prospered under President Obama. Hopefully, putting a successful businessman in the White House will change the American economy for the better.

The Number Behind The Low Unemployment Rate

A good statistician can make numbers say anything he wants them to say. The people currently working for the government are not good statisticians–they are great statisticians! We have all been told that the unemployment rate for Americans has dropped to 4.9 percent. Wow! That is wonderful. But wait a minute–let’s look a little more closely.

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their reporter does a good job of putting the numbers in context.

The article reports:

There were 94,609,000 Americans not participating in the labor force in October, an increase of 425,000 people from the previous month, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

The bureau counts those not in the labor force as people who do not have a job and did not actively seek one in the past four weeks.

The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the population that has a job or actively looked for one in the past month, declined from 62.9 percent in September to 62.8 percent in October.

The unemployment rate for all Americans declined to 4.9 percent from 5.0 percent in the previous month. This measure does not account for those individuals who have dropped out of the labor force and simply measures the percent of those who did not have a job but actively sought one over the month.

The economic recovery under President Obama has been very weak.

The article concludes:

“This so-called-recovery has been extremely weak,” said National Federation of Independent Business president Juanita Duggan. “Small business, which represents 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers and employs 58 million Americans, is the engine of job creation. Until small business owners have a clearer sense of what the future will bring, they’ll keep their foot on the brakes.”

“Small business owners are paralyzed by uncertainty,” she said. “The combination of record uncertainty, rising labor costs, and a shortage of qualified workers is depressing small business job creation.”

This is America under President Obama. President Hillary Clinton will bring more of the same. I would like to note that the people cramming Common Core down our throats are not helping the shortage of qualified workers. Standardized test scores of American students under Common Core have gone down–not up. It is time to clean the swamp in Washington and begin again.

 

How To Lie With Statistics

Ever wonder where the unemployment numbers come from? Ever wonder why you don’t seem to be moving forward and Washington is telling you how great the economic recovery is? Every wonder why you know a lot of Americans who have been unemployed for a long time and have given up searching for a job when the government keeps telling you that thousands of new jobs are being created every month? Ever wonder why your reality does not seem to agree with the reality you see reported on the news? Well, the world most of us live in is a little different from the world that the people writing the news, reporting the news, and working for the government live in.

This article doesn’t need words–it just needs charts and graphs.

From CNS News, the real unemployment picture:

BLMJobStatisticsThese are the real unemployment numbers–not the ones the Obama Administration is releasing–these numbers take into account the workforce participation rate.

This is the workforce participation rate taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

WorkforceParticipationRateSo why are those in Washington painting such a rosy picture of the economy? They are doing great. Here is a list of the wealthiest counties in America from Wikipedia. The list is from 2012, but I seriously doubt much has changed. Note where they are located:

wealthiestcountiesinAmericaOur representatives no longer represent us. Nor are the bureaucrats in government serving the American people. It is long past time to clean house!

 

Who Is Actually Working?

The economic recovery under President Obama has been weak. The Heritage Foundation posted the following graph of our unemployment situation:

EmploymentInTheUSThat tells part of the story, but there is another part that is not being widely told. The Washington Free Beacon posted a story yesterday showing that more foreign workers are employed in America than Americans. That is not encouraging news.

The article reports:

A record-high average of 24,963,000 foreign-born workers were employed in the United States in 2015, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the bureau, foreign-born individuals include legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants.

The bureau began recording this data in 2002. At that time, there were nearly 19 million foreign-born workers employed in the United States. The number has increased by 31.4 percent since then.

While the average number of native-born workers employed also reached a record high in 2015, it did not increase at the same rate as foreign-born workers. In 2015, there were an average of 123,871,000 native-born workers employed, up from 117,487,000 workers employed in 2002, an increase of 5.4 percent.

Additionally, the bureau found that the unemployment rate for foreign-born persons was 4.9 percent for 2015, lower than the 5.4 percent unemployment rate for the native born.

I suppose there are a lot of reasons for hiring foreign-born workers–foreign-born workers are generally willing to work for a lower wage than American workers, foreign-born workers may have a better work ethic than the one we have been teaching Americans, and foreign-born workers may be more inclined to take jobs Americans are not interesting in doing. It may be in a company’s best interest to hire foreign-born workers for the above reasons.

So what is the solution? One thing that might help would be to link the number of visas available to foreign-born workers to the number of jobs available. I have no objection to a legal alien working in America as long as he is not taking a job away from an American. Disney is the poster child for replacing American workers with foreign workers (see article in the Orlando Sentinel).

Meanwhile, until the American people stand up to our government and ask them to limit the number of foreign-worker visas so that it corresponds to the jobs available, Americans will be out of work. Corporations have lobbyists, and those lobbyists strongly encourage Congress to allow more foreign workers in so that corporations can cut their cost of doing business. That is why no one has closed our southern border–corporations make more money by hiring illegal aliens as workers. Until we have someone in Washington in power who is not bought and sold by corporate interests, we will not have a secure southern border and American workers will not be secure in their jobs.

 

How Many Americans Are Actually Working?

We don’t hear a lot about the Labor Force Participation Rate, but it is an important part of the American economy. It is an indication of how many Americans are actually working. The current unemployment rate is somewhere around 5 percent, but without looking at the Labor Force Participation Rate, that number really does not mean much. The 5 percent does not include those people who have given up looking for a job, that is why the Labor Participation Rate is important.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics website includes these two charts that give a clearer picture of the American economy:

LaborForceParticipationLaborForceParticipation2As you can see, we have been losing ground since 2007. It is time to shrink government, limit government regulations, and allow Americans to prosper. Consider this as you decide how to vote in the upcoming election in November. Hillary Clinton would be the third term of President Obama. If we want the above numbers to change, we need to vote for someone who will change our economic direction.

When You Look At The Entire Picture, It Does Not Look Really Good

Chances are that someone in the news today is going to celebrate the fact that the unemployment rate has dropped to 4.9 percent (he lowest since February 2008, the Labor Department said on Friday). That sounds really good until you start looking at the entire picture.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today that shows the entire picture. Here are a few inconvenient facts from the article:

Looks like the 2015Q4 GDP results told a broader story than some credited. The Associated Press called the results from today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reporta sharp deceleration from recent months” (later removing “sharp” from that description), paralleling the sharper deceleration of production. The US economy added only 151,000 jobs, a miss on expectations and barely enough to tread water on population expansion.

…Numerous news services heralded the a drop in U-3 rate of unemployment to 4.9%, but the number of people not in the workforce also rose by 360,000 people from last month (table A-16). That follows an increase of 284,000 the previous month. Those not in the labor force who want a job increased by 461,000, and that follows an increase of 379,000 in the previous month. The latter measure had been falling in 2015, but has reversed itself by 840,000 in two months — both in the 0.7%-growth-rate Q4.

The article concludes:

The sharp reversal on exits from the labor force should be the greatest concern from this report. The 151,000 added jobs pales in comparison to those numbers, and those added jobs only account for population growth anyway. Combined with last quarter’s GDP growth rate, it appears that 2016 is off to a tough start, and may signal a very tough year.

Eight years of President Obama’s economic policies have had consequences. The over regulation, the war on coal, the war on fracking, the decision to stop the Keystone Pipeline, and ObamaCare have all had economic consequences. If Hillary Clinton is elected, we will have more of the same. If a small government Republican is elected, he will be in a position to set the American economy free. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

The July Employment Numbers

This is the chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

BureauofLaborStatisticsJuly2015

So what does this mean? Breitbart.com posted a story about the numbers today.

The article reports:

July’s labor force participation rate however remained the the same as June at 62.6 percent. Before last month the labor force participation rate had not been that low since October 1977, when the participation rate was 62.4 percent.

The BLS reports that the civilian labor force did experience a slight uptick from 157,037,000 in June to 157,106,000 in July after the month of June saw it drop by 432,000.

While the labor participation rate remains at the lowest its been since the late 1970s, the BLS highlighted that the unemployment rate remained at 5.3 percent and nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 215,000.

The labor participation rate is a concern. The unemployment rate does not take the labor participation rate into consideration–it is based only on the number of people actually looking for work that are unemployed. The current labor participation rate is not indicative of a healthy economy.

 

Looking Past The Obvious

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the June jobs report. Most of the mainstream media is trumpeting the fact that 237,000 jobs were created in June. That is good, but what they fail to mention is that the civilian labor force shrank by 432,000.

The article reports:

The labor force participation rate also decreased 0.3 percent from last month to 62.6 percent.

The country has not seen a labor force participation rate that low since October 1977 when the participation rate was 62.4 percent.

The BLS reports that the civilian labor force also shrank by 432,000 in June, from 157,469,000 in May to 157,037,000 in June.

While people dropped out of the workforce the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) highlighted that the unemployment rate declined to 5.3 percent and payroll jobs increased by 223,000.

The number of people who dropped out of the labor force was higher than the number of jobs created. That is not a good thing.

The Jobs Report In Wisconsin

Right now, Scott Walker is the top Republican fund raiser in the Presidential primary. He is also a favorite of the conservatives, which makes him a prime target of attack for the Clinton machine and anyone out there on the liberal side of the spectrum that has designs on the presidency. Get ready for the attacks–here are some of the facts.

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about his record on employment in Wisconsin. Scott Walker took office in 2011. He faced a recall almost immediately, which he won. Despite the opposition, he continued his policies of cutting spending and lowering taxes.

The article reports the results:

Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge.

The article further explains:

Some will rightly point out that the unemployment rate fails to account for people who can’t find a job and stop searching. And so a low unemployment rate is more meaningful if it is accompanied by high participation in the labor force. Since February 2011, the national labor-force participation rate has dropped to 62.7%, from 64.2%. Wisconsin’s rate, much healthier than the national average, has also declined but by significantly less, to 68.4% from 69.1%.

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

Given that Wisconsin’s unemployment has dropped to 4.6% from 5.6% in the past year, the state is in the enviable position of having lowered unemployment while increasing labor-force participation. Not surprisingly, this has helped Wisconsin move up to eighth place in state labor-force participation, from 12th in 2011.

Keep these figures in mind as you hear the attacks on Scott Walker that will be coming from the political left. I have not yet made up my mind as to whom I am supporting in the Republican presidential primary, but these are impressive statistics.

Lying With Statistics

Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about the latest unemployment numbers from the Department of Labor. There was rejoicing that the unemployment rate had dropped to 5.5 percent. You might want to hold off on that rejoicing for a bit.

The article includes a chart showing what the unemployment number actually is when you add in the labor force dropouts:

Unemployment Rate With Labor Force Dropouts March 2015

As you can see, the actual unemployment rate is closer to 10 percent. So, if you know anyone who is unemployed and can’t understand why it is so hard to find a job, show them the real numbers. It might make them feel better.

The article explains:

This decline (the decline in the labor force participation rate) has significant effects on the official unemployment rate. People who are unemployed and eventually stop looking for work are no longer counted as being part of the labor force, which means they’re no longer counted by U.S. statistical agencies as being unemployed (you can read in detail about the math underlying this dynamic here). The result? An artificially low official unemployment rate.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that you can make statistics say pretty much anything you want them to say.

The Economic Recovery In Real Numbers

Politichicks posted an article today with some of the economic numbers President Obama seems to have omitted from his State of the Union speech.

The article reminds us:

While it might be true that businesses have created 11 million jobs (not Obama), what President Obama fails to mention is that he has been in office 6 years and during his first year in office the economy lost over 4 million jobs. Even with the new jobs created, at best, the economy has created a net amount of 7 million jobs private sector jobs. However, due to the fact that there has also been a loss in government jobs, under President Obama there has been a creation of, at most, 6.4 million jobs during his time in office.

What President Obama and most media outlets also failed to mention is that in order to keep up with population growth, the economy needs to create at least 125,000 jobs per month or 9,000,000 jobs in the 72 months since President Obama took office.

The article also reports:

  • The current labor force participation rate is 62.7%, which matches the lowest rate on record. The lowest rate on record was set in September 2014.
  • Since the beginning of the Great Recession (2008), only 943,000 more people are employed, but the number of individuals over the age of 16 has grown by 14,159,000.
  • Worker’s wages have stayed stagnated. In constant dollars (dollars adjusted for inflation), worker’s wages have actually decreased.
  • The Consumer Price Index has increased by 11.2% since President Obama took office, even with the price of energy dropping by almost half.

The article concludes:

The truth of the matter is that we have endured the worst economic recovery on record and much of it is due to President Obama’s policies. Even with the millions of new jobs that have been created and the fact that people’s confidence in the economy is increasing, we still have a long way to go to reach pre-recession economic levels and if President Obama keeps pushing his big government policies, we may never get there.

Somehow none of the above was mentioned in the State of the Union speech.

 

Who Is Working And Who Is Not

The National Review Online posted an article today about job growth since the recession began in December 2007.

The article reports:

From November 2007 through November 2014, the number of employed native-born Americans has decreased more than 1.45 million, while the number of employed immigrants has risen by more than 2 million (as the immigrant population grew rapidly, too), according to data compiled by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Native employment has still not returned to pre-recession levels, while immigrant employment already exceeds pre-recession levels,” the report says. “Furthermore, even with recent job growth, the number of natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) continues to increase.”

This might be something to consider when debating President Obama’s amnesty memo. I suspect there are two main reasons for this statistic–first of all immigrants (legal or illegal) may be willing to work for lower wages, and secondly, many immigrants may have a stronger work ethic than many Americans. Either way, this does not bode well for America’s future.

 

An Obvious Example Of Economic Growth

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about job growth in Texas since the recession began in December 2007.

These two charts tell the story:

So what is the secret? The article reports:

For starters, Texas does not collect an individual income tax or a corporate income tax. It does collect a gross receipts tax. Still, the Tax Foundation’s 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index says Texas has the tenth best business tax climate in the U.S.

Texas has one of the highest sales taxes in the nation to make up for lost income tax revenue. The combined state and average local sales tax rate of 8.15 percent is 11th highest in the nation. However, sales taxes are more efficient than income taxes, since they don’t punish work.

Texas is also a right-to-work state, which studies have shown is better for the economy. Texas is the freest labor market in the country, according to the Mercatus Center. Their labor market freedom rankings include right-to-work status, in addition to minimum wage laws and workers compensation regulations, among other factors.

It seems to me that Congress and the Obama Administration could learn a lot about economics from Texas. Hopefully the new Republican Congress will copy some of the things that have worked in Texas.

Even The Census Bureau Is Fudging Numbers

Yesterday the New York Post reported that workers in the Census Bureau in the Los Angeles area have been have been manipulating the economic data.

The article reports:

Contact information for the veteran Census worker — who reached out to me by e-mail recently and whom I interviewed by phone — has been turned over to congressional investigators who are looking into data falsification in other parts of the country.

“Everybody knows falsification is going on,” the whistleblower told me, adding the malfeasance in the LA region is so obvious that it’s hard to miss.

She said she’s coming forward now because she “applauds” the others who have spoken up already.

Census employees have blown the whistle on the Denver and Philadelphia regions. A Denver whistleblower recently turned over information to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Part of the problem here is that Americans have evidently grown tired of answering surveys and have become very wary of anything that might invade their privacy. Meanwhile, some of the Field Service Areas (FSA’s) are reporting a 100 percent response to their surveys–something that is highly unlikely at any time.

Why does this matter? Aside from the obvious fact that our government is lying to us, why is this important?

The article explains:

The stakes are high, of course. The Bureau of Labor Statistics requires a 90 percent success rate for interviews that go into the Current Population Survey, which Census conducts on BLS’ behalf. It’s those results that are used to calculate the nation’s monthly unemployment rate.

“To be perfectly honest, the BLS should be questioning the data, not just you alone,” the LA whistleblower said.

Who knows what the real unemployment rate actually is.

Why You Seem To Be Earning More And Having Less To Spend

There are a number of articles on the internet today about inflation in America.

The first, at Bloomberg.com describes the impact of inflation on the average Fourth of July celebration:

The CHART OF THE DAY shows an index tracking U.S. retail prices for seven foods commonly consumed while grilling climbed 5.1 percent in May from a year earlier to the highest ever for the month, the latest data from Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

Independence Day is the most popular time of the year for Americans to cook outdoors, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. The holiday falls on a Friday this year, increasing chances that revelers will keep celebrating into the weekend. Prices for ground beef are 16 percent higher than a year earlier, while ice cream climbed 1.7 percent and tomatoes soared 12 percent, government data show.

A chart at the Wall Street Journal shows what is happening to gasoline prices:

And finally, a chart at businessweek shows what happens when prices go up:

The American economy is not in recovery. The only reason the Stock Market is rising is because the government is subsidizing it. The Middle Class in America is being squeezed by a shrinking labor force and stagnant wages. We need to put more business men and less lawyers in Congress. Please remember that in November.

 

 

Looking Behind The Obvious Numbers

The jobs report came out today. John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the numbers reminding us that what we read in the media may not be the whole story.

Some of the facts he points out:

* The number of people aged 16 years and above who are not in the labor force increased by 111,000 this past month. While a somewhat lower increase than in months past, it still outpaces forecasted retirements.

* The number of people taking part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time work increased by 275,000 this past month.

* In fact, the number of people employed full-time (according to the household survey that also counts self-employed) declined by 523,000 while the number of part-time workers increased by 799,000 (which includes those who wanted part-time and those who wanted full-time but could only find part-time). These estimates are seasonally adjusted to account for the normal increase in June part-time work.

* The U-6 unemployment rate (the broadest measure of unemployment) remains virtually unchanged at 12.1 percent. U-6 includes those people who are discouraged, only occasionally trying to find work, and those employed part-time for economic reasons.

The article also reminds us that both incomes and economic growth remain flat. It seems as if the only thing growing in this economy is the Stock Market (which the government is currently propping up).

The Change In Work Hours In America

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article about the February jobs report released on March 7. The report shows that employment fell, as it has in four out of the past six months and in more than one-third of the months during the past two years. This is not an indication of a strong, growing economy.

The article reports:

Although it is often overlooked, a key statistic for understanding the labor market is the length of the average workweek. Small changes in the average workweek imply large changes in total hours worked. The average workweek in the U.S. has fallen to 34.2 hours in February from 34.5 hours in September 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That decline, coupled with mediocre job creation, implies that the total hours of employment have decreased over the period.

…What accounts for the declining average workweek? In some instances—but not this one—a minor drop could be the result of a statistical fluke caused by rounding. Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics only reports hours to the nearest 1/10th, a small movement, say, to 34.449 hours from 34.450 hours, would be reported as a reduction in hours worked to 34.4 from 34.5, vastly overstating the loss in worked time. But the six-month decline in the workweek, to 34.2 from 34.5 hours, cannot be the consequence of a rounding error.

There is a rather strong possibility that the decline in working hours is due to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Under that law, businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees (full time is defined as 30 hours a week), are not required to provide health insurance for their employees. This is one example of one of the many unintended consequences of ObamaCare, although there are many people who would argue that it is an intended consequence.

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About Those Unemployment Numbers

John Crudele at the New York Post has done a number of stories about fraud in the reporting of the unemployment numbers. He posted a story yesterday about the Congressional investigations into this fraud, including an investigation by the House Oversight Committee and Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. He adds that he is also investigating. He is currently waiting for the Commerce Department to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request he has filed for e-mails and text messages between people in the Philadelphia Census office.

The article reports:

At the core of all these investigations is solid evidence that at least one surveyor — a guy named Julius Buckmon, working out of the Philadelphia Census office but polling in Washington, DC — submitted fake household surveys that were used in compiling the Labor Department’s unemployment rate.

Because of the scientific nature of the Labor Department survey, Buckmon’s actions alone would have affected the responses of some 500,000 households.

But as I’ve been reporting, the scam was allegedly much larger than that and included other surveyors (or enumerators as they are called) over many years. And supervisors at least two levels up are said to have known about — and covered up — the scandal.

What the investigators are looking for is that the unemployment numbers were falsified so that they would drop just before the 2012 election. In fact, the unemployment rate did drop before the election.

This is a chart from trading economics.com:

United States Unemployment Rate

Before you get too excited over the fact that unemployment may be dropping, you need to take a look at the labor force participation rate. When people stop looking for jobs, they are no longer counted as unemployed. Therefore, as the number of people who are working drops, the unemployment rate drops. That is not the way it should be, but it is the way it is. The chart below from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows what has happened to our labor force participation rate since 2009:

laborparticipationrate2014Regardless of whether or not there is fraud involved, our current unemployment numbers are very misleading. Please follow the link above to the New York Post to hear the rest of the story. There is a smoking gun. Unfortunately, the person in charge at the time is claiming that he never saw it.

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The State Of The Union

Today’s Independent Journal Review posted a list of seven of the lies President Obama told during his State of the Union address. There were more than seven, and I am sure anyone who has been paying attention was able to spot many of the lies in the speech.

The article lists seven:

1) Income inequality is the worst it’s ever been! The article points out that income inequality is the same as it was in 1987.

 

2) Raising minimum wage will help families. The article reminds us that it’s not hard to believe that Obama, who has never run a business, doesn’t understand that artificially forcing a business to pay someone more than their wage is worth will put more people out of the labor market. Making job creation more expensive leads to fewer jobs.

 

3) His minimum wage hike for federal workers brings immediate relief. The article points out that most employees of federal contractors earn more than the minimum wage, so this will apply to only about 10% of those, or 200,000 employees. Finally, this wage hike won’t apply until 2015 at the earliest, and even then, only for new contracts, not old ones.

 

4) How many Americans have gained insurance under Obamacare? In fact, five million Americans have lost insurance, meaning that this number is not a net gain. In other words, the vast majority already had insurance before Obamacare. As few as 11% might be new enrollments to Obamacare. Finally, the payment system for the federal Obamacare website isn’t completed; who knows how many of these will experience more “glitches.”

 

5) Obama will cut red tape that’s holding up construction jobs!  The article reminds us “The reason most of these projects are delayed is they don’t have enough money. So it’s great that you are expediting the review process, but the review process isn’t the problem. The problem is we don’t have enough money to invest in our infrastructure in the first place.”

 

6) Your medicare premium went up? You’re making that up! The article points out that on paper, the program’s giant trust fund for inpatient care gained more than a decade of solvency because of cuts to service providers required under the health law. But in practice those savings cannot simultaneously be used to expand coverage for the uninsured and shore up Medicare.

 

7. Obama’s created 8 million new jobs in the last four years. The article reminds us that this figure leaves out a lot of lost jobs early in Obama’s presidency and glosses over that this recovery has been the weakest since World War II. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only a net gain of 2.4 million job have been added on Obama’s watch (this doesn’t account for population growth, leading to the lowest labor participation rate since 1978).

 

Generally speaking, there were a lot of lies in the speech. After listening to the speech, a person could easily assume that ObamaCare was working fabulously, the economy was in great shape, and the President could do anything he wanted to without the approval of Congress. Obviously, none of the above is true. I understand that politicians tend to stretch or spin the truth, but any resemblance to truth in last night’s State of the Union speech was purely coincidental.

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It’s Not The Unemployment Numbers–It’s The Number Of People Who Have Dropped Out Of The Labor Force

Today’s Daily Caller reported that the percentage of Americans in the labor force has reached a record low–62.8 percent. According to the article, a record high 91,541,000 Americans did not participate in the labor force this October. Since January 2009, more than 11 million people have dropped out of the labor force.
The article concludes:

The economic blog Zero Hedge notes that at the current rate, the number of people not participating in the labor force could exceed those working in about four years.

This is unlike any economic recovery from a recession we have ever had.

You Really Do Have Less Money To Spend

CNS News reported today that the real median earnings of men and women have decreased 3.2 percent since President Obama took office in January 2009.The data was released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The article reports:

When Obama took office in the first quarter of 2009, median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers was $344. At that time, the median weekly earnings for men were $384 and the median weekly earnings for women were $304.

Thus, overall real median weekly earnings dropped by $11 between the first quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2013 (from $344 to $333). That is a real decline of 3.2 percent.

Men’s real median weekly earnings have dropped $16 dollars since Obama took office (from $384 to $368). That is a real drop of 4.2 percent.

Women’s real median weekly earnings have dropped $2 since Obama took office (declining from $304 to $302). That is a real drop of 0.66 percent.

We really cannot afford too much more hope and change.

 

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