Bouncing Back

Yesterday CNBC reported the following:

After a disappointing February in which just 20,000 jobs were added to the economy, the job market is back on track, adding 196,000 jobs in March.

That’s according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statics, which also showed unemployment remaining at 3.8% and wages increasing by 3.2% from a year ago.

“I think the March report will reassure investors after the weak report in February brought about concerns of a possible slowing economy,” Glassdoor’s chief economist Andrew Chamberlain tells CNBC Make It. “The report is strong across the board and it’s hard to find any weaknesses. It shows that even after 102 months of positive job gains, the economy still has room to grow.”

At some point the economy will slow down. We have not yet dealt with the debt that runaway spending has created in recent years, and we have not yet fully revised trade deals that were detrimental to our country. However, March was a good month for Americans looking for work and Americans in the workforce.

The article reminds us that there may be a recession in the future, but not in the near future:

Though February’s numbers may have been alarming to some, Hamrick, Gimbel and Chamberlain agree that there’s no need to worry about a recession just yet.

“There’s no sign that one is imminent,” says Hamrick, though he adds, “we know that one is inevitable at some point.”

Gimbel adds that, “In 2018, we created, on average, about 200,000 jobs per month. That is astonishing at this point in the recovery and highly unlikely that the economy is going to keep that up moving forward. So if we drop down to creating 180,000 jobs a month, or 150,000 or even 100,000, that is OK.”

Having a businessman as President has been a good thing for the majority of Americans.

How Is The Trump Economy Doing?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s economic policies on the economy during the past two years.

The article reports:

President Trump has had a tumultuous two years in office, but as he starts to ramp up his reelection campaign, he can boast of having presided over the lowest recorded average unemployment rate of any of his predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate had held steady at 3.8%. That brings the average unemployment rate for the first 26 months of Trump’s presidency, from February 2017 through March 2019, to 4.1%.

Starting with the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, there has never been a president who oversaw such a robust employment market at this point in his presidency. This is demonstrated in the chart below. The official BLS unemployment data go back to 1948, and thus is not available for the comparable period in the Harry S. Truman era or earlier.

Since the economy is a strong player in presidential elections, these numbers are important.

The article concludes:

The strong economic performance will also be a test of a lot of models predicting the outcome of elections. Many analysts rely heavily on the state of the economy when predicting whether an incumbent will get reelected. However, typically, when the economy is strong, it is also associated with a solid presidential approval rating. Yet Trump has polled consistently lower than other presidents, despite the strong economy.

For instance, take Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, whose unemployment rates came closest to Trump, at 4.4% and 4.5%, respectively. At the comparable points in their presidencies, according to Gallup, Eisenhower was polling at 71 percent and Nixon, while less popular, was still at 50%. In contrast, Trump is currently polling at 39%.

That’s why predicting the 2020 election is so perilous, especially with the Democratic nomination battle so wide open. It’s easy to come up with a scenario in which Trump loses reelection despite having the strongest presidential term for employment in recorded history, because he turns off voters in many other ways. On the other hand, it’s also possible to imagine an outcome in which the strength of the economy convinces voters to get past their objections with Trump and stay the course rather than risk radical change being promised by Democrats.

The strong economy may be the reason the Democrats are trying to get so much mileage out of the Mueller Report. It may be their only hope.

Economic Policies Impact All Of Us

The Trump economy has been good for everyone. Taxes are lower, wages are moving up, unemployment is low, and the workforce participation rate is moving up. Wages on the lower economic scale have seen a marked increase in the past year. However, one thing that impacts government spending as well as being an indication of economic conditions  is food stamps. Yesterday Breitbart reported that the most recent USDA data revealed that 37,911,631 people received food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in December 2018, marking the lowest level of overall participation in the nation’s food stamp program in nearly ten years. That is good news for the people who no longer need food stamps, and it is good news for taxpayers who fund food stamps.

The article reports:

The last time overall participation in food stamps reached this level was in October 2009, when 37,672,818 people were on the government dole, according to USDA data.

…After 2013, SNAP enrollment plummeted once state legislatures passed laws requiring food stamp recipients to work, attend school, volunteer, or participate in job training for a set number of hours per week to receive benefits.

Food stamp enrollment dropped even further under President Trump’s administration partly because of the administration’s efforts to reform welfare programs like SNAP at federal and state levels of government and an improving economy spurred by Trump’s tax reform package.

The article concludes:

According to the latest USDA data, 4.2 million Americans have dropped off of the food stamp rolls during Trump’s presidency.

President Trump also signaled that he is looking to limit dependency on welfare programs like food stamps even further.

The president recently told Breitbart News in an Oval Office interview that he does not want any immigrants coming into the U.S. to be dependent on welfare programs.

“I don’t want to have anyone coming in that’s on welfare,” Trump told Breitbart News last Monday.

The asylum program was not meant to be a free lunch. There is a difference between people coming here to work and people coming here for free stuff.

The Impact Of New York City’s New Minimum Wage

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the impact of New York City raising the minimum wage over the past four years.

The editorial reports:

Over the past four years, the minimum wage for New York City restaurants that employ more than 10 workers went from $10.50 an hour to $15. That’s a whopping 43% increase. Next year, every restaurant, big and small, will have to pay their workers at least $15 an hour.

A big victory for workers, right? That’s how it’s depicted by the “Fight for $15” crowd. And, yes, if you held a full-time minimum-wage job over those years, your gross income would have gone up by $9,360.

But those massive wage hikes come at a painful cost that backers refuse to acknowledge. They kill jobs. Just like they’re doing right now in New York City.

In just the last three months of last year, 4,000 workers lost jobs at full-service restaurants, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.

One of the problems here is a misunderstanding of the purpose of the minimum wage. A minimum-wage job should not be an ultimate goal. A minimum-wage job should be a way to enter into the workforce and learn some basic skills–dealing with people, being punctual, having manners, etc. Theoretically these basic skills will allow you to advance to a job that pays better than minimum wage.

The editorial continues:

Even during the Great Recession, restaurant workers didn’t suffer as much as they are now. In fact, over the course of the recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, the number of restaurant jobs in the city actually increased by 1,800.

It’s getting so bad that fast-food workers now want the city to protect them from getting fired without “just cause.”

Those who keep their jobs aren’t necessarily better off, either.

The Hospitality Alliance survey found that more than three quarters of New York restaurants cut worker hours in 2018 to offset that year’s wage hike. Seventy-five percent say they want to cut hours this year.

“Though the new regulations are intended to benefit employees, some restaurateurs and staffers say that take-home pay ends up being less due to fewer hours — or that employees face more work because there are fewer staffers per shift,” notes Tara Crowl in an article in New York Eater.

The results of a significant increase in the minimum wage in New York City are similar to the results of a significant increase in the minimum wage in Seattle and in Illinois. It seems to me that we need to stop making the same mistakes over and over again and take a good look at the results. Rather than increase the minimum wage, we should be encouraging people to learn the skills they need to get them into jobs that pay better than minimum wage. We should also realize that raising wages too high too fast will create unemployment–not wealth.

The Quality Of Life Index

Who knew that there was a Quality of Life Index? I certainly didn’t, but there is one, and Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about it on February 8th.

The editorial reports:

Unemployment at historic lows? Wages climbing at a fast pace? Who knew? The news media, fixated on Trump scandals, hasn’t exactly been broadcasting that good news. And media fact checkers busied themselves after the speech nitpicking Trump’s economic boasts.

But the upbeat assessment clearly resonated with the public, most of whom gave Trump’s speech top marks. Turns out they have been firsthand witnesses to the strength of the economy over the past two years.

How do we know? Look at the IBD/TIPP Quality of Life Index, which asks the public whether they think their quality of life will be better, worse or the same over the next six months.

In the 17 years IBD has been compiling this index, it’s averaged 56.2. Under President Obama, it averaged just 53.7. Even if you only include Obama’s second term, it was well below the 17-year average.

Under Trump? The Quality of Life Index has averaged 59.3. That’s a 10% increase over the average during the Obama years.

To be sure, there’s a partisan element to this. Republicans tend to rate their quality of life higher than Democrats when there’s a Republican in the White House, and vice versa. But look at independents: Their quality of life averaged 52 under Obama. It’s averaging 58.8 under Trump — a 13% bump.

What’ more, the gains are across the board. Households making from $35,000 to $50,000, for example, saw an 8% gain in this index when you compare Trump to Obama. Those making from $50,000 to $75,000, an 11% gain.

This is what winning looks like for the Middle Class.

This Is How You Actually Help Middle-Class Families

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial with the title, “Trump Delivers For Workers … After Years Of Empty Obama Promises.” The editorial cites the latest jobs report and explains how that excellent report is the result of President Trump’s economic policies. The first thing to remember here is that President Trump is a businessman–not a politician (although he has a very fast learning curve). His approach to government seems to be very similar to that of a businessman–what is the most efficient way to solve a problem? There are those in Washington who do not welcome this approach.

The editorial reminds us:

The 304,000 gain in jobs reported by the Labor Department was nearly twice the consensus estimate. And it comes after December’s expectation-busting gains.

There’s more. The jobs picture is so strong right now that it’s pulling people in who’ve been sitting on the sidelines.

In fact, for the first time in more than 20 years, the number of people who are out of the labor force — those without jobs and not looking — shrank by 647,000 over the past 12 months. So many people are returning to the labor force that the official unemployment rate is going up, even as the job market booms.

This comes, mind you, at a time when baby boomers are retiring en masse. Under Obama, in contrast, the number of labor force dropouts exploded by 14.4 million.

The latest numbers also underscore a point we’ve been making in this space for months — that all the talk of a tight labor market overlooked the vast pool of idle workers during the Obama years.

The editorial concludes:

Other evidence of this turnaround came earlier in the week, when the Labor Dept reported that private sector wages and salaries climbed 3% last year — the biggest annual increase in a decade. Under Obama, private sector wage gains averaged just 2%.

Why Now?

So why now, this late in the game?

The answer is simple. At least to those not blinded by partisanship or economic ideology.

For eight years, Obama kept promising “bottom-up growth,” while telling the country that tax cuts and deregulation would only benefit the rich. But his policies — Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, higher taxes, a regulatory tsunami — produced economic stagnation. As it always does, that stagnation hurt the working class most.

Trump went in the opposite direction. His pro-growth tax cuts, deregulatory campaign and pro-energy policies fueled huge increases in economic optimism and turbocharged the economy. And now we’re seeing real job growth and strong wage gains for the first time in more than a decade.

You tell us which approach is proving more worker friendly.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Republicans and Democrats could work together to insure the continuation of this economic growth?

Killing A Growing Economy One Law At A Time

On January 4th, Investor’s Business Daily reported:

Since President Donald Trump took office nearly two years ago, some 4.8 million new payroll jobs have been created. That’s more than four times as many as created during President Obama’s first four years.

Hold on, you say, didn’t the unemployment rate jump from 3.7% to 3.9%? It did. Yes, but not because more people were unemployed, but because more people entered the labor force, seeking opportunities that didn’t exist before.

It’s actually a bullish sign. Some 419,000 people entered the workforce during the month, driving the labor force participation rate to 63.1%, up from 62.7% a year ago. That bellwether employment figure declined pretty consistently during the job-poor Obama years, from 65.7% when Obama entered office to 62.9% when he left. It stabilized under Trump. Last month’s 63.1% tied for the highest point since September 2013.

This rapidly improving economy is the result of President Trump’s deregulation and tax cuts. Cutting the corporate taxes and regulations resulted in manufacturing jobs returning to America (after President Obama told us they were never coming back). So why is the Democrat House of Representatives trying to undo this progress?

The Hill reported yesterday:

Rep. John Yarmuth, the new House Budget chairman, said his chamber’s budget blueprint will aim to claw back lost revenue by boosting the corporate tax rate from its current 21 percent to as high as 28 percent, with rate increases also possible for high-earning individuals.

The Kentucky Democrat said Friday he wants to mark up a fiscal 2020 budget resolution, which will outline his party’s vision for taxes and spending over the next decade, in time to reach the House floor in early April. Yarmuth said Democratic leaders have told him they want to be ready so they can set the procedural stage for passage of all 12 appropriations bills before the August recess.

Are they simply economically badly informed or is there another motive? Well first I would like to mention my favorite Milton Friedman quote, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” I think there are two forces at work here–first of all the Democrats love taxes. They believe that the more of everyone else’s money they have to spend, the more powerful they are. Second of all, Democrats with brains realize that increasing taxes will slow economic growth. Slowing the Trump economy is the only chance the Democrats have of taking the presidency in 2020. That is the plan. Hopefully the Senate will not pass the House of Representative’s budget plans. They will be harmful to average Americans. President Trump has helped average Americans economically. President Obama helped Wall Street but ignored Main Street. The House Democrats seem determined to go back to that model which ignored average Americans.

No One Should Be Surprised By This

Breitbart is reporting today on some of the things the Democrats plan to do now that they have taken over the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) plans to introduce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Thursday — the first day that Democrats control the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

…Newly-elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also endorsed impeaching Trump on her first day in office, according to The Nation, which described Tlaib as calling for “immediate steps” to remove the president from the White House.

“Each passing day brings more pain for the people most directly hurt by this president, and these are days we simply cannot get back. The time for impeachment proceedings is now,” Rep. Tlaib declared.

Representative Sherman wants to impeach President Trump for obstructing justice by firing former FBI Director James B. Comey, among other wrongdoing.

The article states:

“There is no reason it shouldn’t be before the Congress,” Sherman said. “Every day, Donald Trump shows that leaving the White House would be good for our country.”

I don’t know what these people are looking at, but the middle class has come roaring back since President Trump took office. The unemployment numbers are down, there are more jobs than people looking for work, people have more spending money in their pockets, manufacturing is coming back to America, better trade deals have been negotiated, America’s carbon dioxide emissions are down, and North and South Korea are talking to each other. Which one of these accomplishments do you think the American people are willing to impeach President Trump for?

Some Economic Numbers

The Independent Journal Review is reporting today that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended Dec. 22. The article states that initial claims have now fallen in three of the last four weeks and are just above the 49-year low of 202,000 reached in the week ended Sept. 15.

The article reports:

After several years of near-steady falls, claims trended higher between mid-September and mid-December, prompting concern the U.S. economy was losing a step.

It remains unclear how much of that increase was related to the difficulty government statisticians have in adjusting the claims data for seasonal swings. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims increasing to 217,000 in the latest week.

The latest claims data “signals improvement in the labor market relative to a few weeks ago, but softening in conditions relative to a few months ago,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 4,750 to 218,000 last week.

The workforce participation rate is steady at slightly less than 63 percent in recent years. It will be interesting to see if it begins to climb in the coming months.

Putting Politics Before The Welfare Of Americans

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the coming Congressional session. The title of the editorial is, “Market Turmoil Shows Why Trump’s Pro-Growth Policies Must Continue.”

The editorial explains:

Kudlow (President Trump’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow) tried to calm the waters. “Corrections come and go,” he told reporters at the White House. “I’m reading some of the weirdest stuff how a recession is in the future. Nonsense. Recession is so far in the distance I can’t see it. Keep the faith. It’s a very strong economy.”

Let’s be clear. Economic forecasts have been overly pessimistic for most of the Trump administration, with actual results consistently coming in “unexpectedly” higher than forecast. And Kudlow is right. There’s no sign of a recession on the horizon.

The editorial points out the indications of a strong economy and the steps needed to keep it strong:

Unemployment is at 50-year lows. Wages are growing at the fastest rate since the financial crisis. There are a million more job listings than officially unemployed people. Productivity grew 2.2% in the third quarter, after jumping 3% in the second quarter — the fastest growth rate in four years. Small business optimism and the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index remains at record highs.

After eight long years of sluggish growth under President Obama, the economy has been booming.

Still, the Fed has been raising interest rates, and as we’ve pointed out repeatedly in this space, the risk is always that they will go too far, too fast, and crash the economy. The trade war with China is taking its toll. And the economic expansion is old. The last recession ended 113 months ago, making this the second longest in the post-World War II era.

Which is all the more reason for the federal government to continue wringing every bit of growth-inhibiting policies out of the system. For his part, Trump needs to get a trade deal in place with China when he meets with President Xi Jinping at a G-20 summit later this month. And he needs to continue to deregulate where he can.

Unfortunately the Democrats in Congress have little interest in continuing the policies that have resulted in the current economic growth. They will make every effort to roll back the tax cuts and increase the size and spending of the federal government. Hopefully their efforts will not be successful.

More Businesses Leaving California And Heading For Texas?

CNBC is reporting today that San Francisco’s Proposition C, which will tax the city’s biggest businesses to raise funds to combat homelessness, passed Tuesday.

The article reports:

Proposition C will increase gross receipts taxes for companies with more than $50 million in annual revenue by an average of 0.5 percent, generating up to $300 million a year to combat the city’s homelessness crisis through initiatives like new beds in shelters and increased mental health services.

…Critics of the proposition argued that it lacked proper accountability and oversight, and would unfairly affect financial services companies like Square. Outside the tech industry, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and state Sen. Scott Wiener opposed the measure as well.

In the weeks leading up to the election, the measure became a point of tension in a city where tech-fueled wealth stands in stark contrast with the human suffering on display on its sidewalks.

Overall, more than 7,000 people experience homelessness in San Francisco. The median house price hit $1.6 million earlier this year and one-bedroom apartments rent for an average of $3,300.

Although I agree with the idea of helping the homeless, has it occurred to the residents of San Francisco that if you increase taxes on companies, some of those companies will relocate? When those companies relocate, you will have fewer jobs, less tax revenue, more unemployment, and possibly more homelessness–exactly the opposite of your intention. The only good news is that as people leave the area, you might have a housing glut that causes the price of housing to go down. No one will want to live there because of the scarcity of jobs, but housing might become more available.

A Few Observations From The Polls

I have visited my local voting place twice today. Don’t worry–I didn’t vote twice–my husband was handing out information, and I went to provide food and moral support. While I was there, I picked up some literature from the Democrats and investigated the talking points on their local website.

This is what I learned.

Their website states:

Democrats are standing up for the American Dream: an economy and government that works for everyone, not just the few.

Found on their Twitter page:

Hi kids, this is your Mom. Remember to vote on 11/6. If Trump cuts my Social Security and Medicare I’m moving in with you!

Both these statements are totally misleading.

The American Dream is more accessible to everyone under President Trump than it was under President Obama, a Democrat. According to a Western Journal article posted December 18, 2017:

The national unemployment rate for black Americans, ages 16 and over, is the lowest it has been in 17 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In November 2016, the unemployment rate for black people was at 8 percent, and in November 2017 that rate dropped to 7.3 percent — a percentage not seen since the months of September, October and November 2000.

As reported by CNS News, black unemployment rate during the Bush and Obama era’s fluctuated between 7 and 17 percent.

BLS data also shows that labor force participation among African-Americans rose from 61.9 percent in November 2016 to 62.2 percent in November 2017.

Unemployment rate for the Hispanic demographic fell from 5.7 percent to 4.7 percent — the lowest it’s been in 44 years, while the unemployment rate for whites and Asians hovered around 3 percent, roughly the same as one year prior.

About Social Security cuts–none of us can predict the future, but we can draw conclusions based on past behavior. This is the chart showing Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to Social Security in recent years:

I know that it’s only a coincidence that one of the biggest increases in Social Security occurred in 2011, a year before the 2012 election.

As far as Medicare is concerned, the statements are also misleading. The Republicans are not the ones who have cut Medicare. Medicare funding was cut to fund ObamaCare. On August 13, 2012, Forbes Magazine reported:

You wouldn’t know it from listening to the Obama campaign, but there’s only one Presidential candidate in 2012 who has cut Medicare: Barack Obama, whose Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare by $716 billion from 2013-2022. Today, the Romney campaign reiterated its pledge to repeal Obamacare, and promised to “restore the funding to Medicare [and] ensure that no changes are made to the program for those 55 and older.”

If any of the above is news to you, you need to reconsider where you are getting your news. If you were already aware of the above information and voted Democrat, then it is obvious that facts will not get in the way of your opinion. Facts are such inconvenient things.

What Results Look Like

During the final weeks of the mid-term election campaign, you will hear Democrats say, “The tax cuts were only for the rich–they didn’t help anyone else.” A misinformed friend of mine posted that on Facebook recently. So let’s look at the facts.

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article yesterday about the impact of the Trump Tax Cuts on average Americans.

The article quotes a Business Insider article that reports the following:

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance announced that it will make investments around $150 million to boost mainly its in-store wages in fiscal 2019 in the light of favorable tax reforms.
  • Walgreens CFO said Thursday that the increase in store wages was “in light of the favorable tax reforms in the US.”

…The pharmacy-chain owner Walgreens Boots Alliance announced Thursday that it will make investments of about $150 million to boost mainly its in-store wages in fiscal 2019 in wake of  President Donald Trump’s tax reforms.

The announcement marks a 50% increase in company’s investment towards wages which was announced in March. At the time, Walgreens said it would invest around $100 million per annum to increase wages beginning later this calendar year.

“We will be making select incremental investments of around $150 million in fiscal 2019, mainly in store wages, but also to fuel our new community health care initiatives, and you can view these in light of the favorable tax reforms in the US,” Walgreens CFO James Kehoe said Thursday, on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. 

The article at Business Insider explains how the tax cuts have impacted the average worker:

In December 2017,  the Trump administration slashed the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and allowed a one-time repatriation of overseas cash. The bill also allows companies to bring overseas profits back home to invest in domestic projects or repurchase of shares.

Kehoe said the investments will result in a headwind of approximately $0.12 a share, or two percentage points of earnings-per-share growth for the coming fiscal year. 

US retailers are scrambling to keep workers as they look for opportunities with higher pay and attractive benefits. The US unemployment rate fell to a 48-year low of 3.7% in September. According to the Bureau of Labour statistics, there were 757,000 retail-job openings across the United States in July, which is about 100,000 more than a year ago.

The surge in the number of retail jobs has allowed workers the opportunity to move around within the industry. As a result, companies are raising wages to try and retain workers. Earlier this month, Amazon hiked its minimum wage to $15 per hour, effective November 1. That followed wage hikes from places like Target and Costco

That is significant.

The Conservative Treehouse concludes:

Back in January 2017 Deutsche Bank began thinking about it, applying new models, trying to conceptualize and quantify MAGAnomics, and trying to walk out the potential ramifications.  They began talking about Trump doubling the U.S. GDP growth rate when all U.S. investment groups couldn’t yet fathom the possibility.

It’s like waking up on Christmas morning every day to see the pontificating Fed struggling to quantify analysis of their surrounding reality based on flawed assumptions. They simply have no understanding of what happens within the new dimension.

Monetary policy, Fed control over the economy, is disconnected and will stay that way for approximately another 12-14 months, until Main Street regains full operational strength –and– economic parity is achieved.

As we have continued to share, CTH believes the paycheck-to-paycheck working middle-class are going to see a considerable rise in wages and standard of living.  How high can wages rise?… that depends on the pressure; and right now the pressure is massive.  I’m not going to dismiss the possibility we could see double digit increases in year-over-year wage growth in multiple economic sectors in several regions of the U.S.

Remember, as wages and benefits increase – millions of people are coming back into the labor market to take advantage of the income opportunities.  The statistics on the invisible workforce varies, but there are millions of people taking on new jobs in this economy and the participation rate is growing.

Winnamins.  We’ll need lots of them…

Wow.

 

The Economy Under President Trump

Breitbart is reporting today that the Labor Department has stated that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 207,000 for the week ending September 29th.

The article reports on the impact of Hurricane Florence:

Hurricane Florence, which hit North Carolina and South Carolina last month, affected claims, according to the Labor Department. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending September 22 was in North Carolina. Claims in South Caroline rose by 2,830, the third largest rise behind Kentucky.

The article concludes:

Jobless claims, which are a proxy for layoffs, have been closely watched for signs that trade disputes would be a drag on the labor market. Earlier this year, economists predicted that the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration would cost 400,000 jobs. That prediction now looks way too pessimistic.

The jobless claims data has no impact on the monthly employment report, which is scheduled for release on Friday. Bloomberg’s survey of economists sees nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 18o,000 in September after rising 201,000 in August. The unemployment rate is expected to fall one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent, an 18-year low first hit in May.

President Trump may not be the perfect role model for your son, but it is obvious that he is a very savvy businessman who is working for the benefit of all Americans. I hope all Americans will vote next month to elect people who will support his policies. His economic policies are obviously working.

The Positive Economic News Continues

Yahoo News is reporting today that jobless claims expectantly fell last week. (Why was it unexpected–the trend has been going downward for a while?) Because of this, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates next week to keep the economy from overheating. I have mixed emotions about this. We do have to get back to reasonable interest rates, but it seems as if the federal reserve also has a habit of overreacting and slowing down (or speeding up) the economy a little too quickly.

This is a chart of interest rates starting in approximately 2008 taken from trading economics:

As you can see, the rates were kept very low during the Obama Administration in order to avoid an economic crash. Ideally, the Federal Reserve will raise them very slowly so as to protect the economic growth we are currently seeing.

Yahoo News reports:

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies. Prices for longer-dated U.S. Treasuries rose marginally and stocks on Wall Street were mixed. The labor market is considered to be close to or at full employment. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 223,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent.

The jobless rate, which has declined by three-tenths of a percentage point this year, is now at a level where the Fed projected it would be by the end of this year.

The number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 21,000 to 1.74 million in the week ended May 26. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims dropped 13,250 to 1.73 million, the lowest level since December 1973.

…The strong job market conditions were also underscored by the publication on Thursday of the Labor Department’s Contingent and Alternative Employment Arrangements survey, which showed 1.3 percent of U.S. workers in May 2017 held jobs they considered temporary or did not expect to last beyond a year.

That is a decline from 1.8 percent in February 2005 when the government last conducted a similar survey.

When self-employed individuals and independent contractors were included, the share of workers was 1.6 percent in May 2017, down from 2.3 percent in February 2005. Most contingent workers were under the age of 25.

The Labor Department will publish its Contingent Worker Supplement report in September. It is expected to shed light on the so-called gig economy.

Like him or not, President Trump is a successful businessman who understands how economics works. It might be a good idea in the future to elect businessmen to the presidency instead of politicians.

Sorting Through The Latest Jobs Numbers

The unemployment numbers just released are good–they are not great because of some of the underlying factors. Investor’s Business Daily reported that in April the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent. That is good news, but there are some other numbers that are cause for concern.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the workforce participation rate in April was 62.8 percent. That number has roamed between 62.7 and 63 percent since the end of 2015.

The article at Investor’s Business Daily reports:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the economy added 164,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment level dropped to 3.9%. It was 4.8% when President Trump took office.

Since Trump took office, the economy has added a total of 2.7 million jobs, and since his tax cuts took effect we’ve seen an average 200,000 new jobs each month. Initial jobless claims are at decades long lows as well.

That’s unquestionably good news.

The report also finds, however, that wages rose slightly less than expected in April — with hourly earnings climbing at a 2.6% annualized rate.

…According to the Census household survey, the biggest contribution to the drop in the unemployment rate wasn’t people getting jobs — that survey registered a gain of just 3,000 in April. It’s due mainly to the fact that 410,000 dropped out of the labor force — and no longer count as unemployed.

The article cites some figures explaining changes in the Workforce Participation Rate in various age groups:

The labor force participation rate in Dec. 2000 was 67%. Today it is just 62.8%.

The employment-to-population ratio then was 64.4%. Now it’s 60.3%.

The population not in the labor force — they don’t have jobs and aren’t looking — has climbed a stunning 25.3 million over those years.

Think about it this way. If the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was in December 2000, the unemployment rate wouldn’t be 3.9%. It would be 10%!

Yes, many who’ve left the labor force over the past 18 years are baby boomers entering retirement. But that doesn’t come close to explaining the massive increase in labor dropouts.

For example, the labor force participation rate among 20- to 24-year-olds was 78% in December 2000. It’s just 71% today. For those 25-34 years old, the rate declined from 85% to 83%.

In contrast, among those 55 and older, the participation rate increased — going from 33% in December 2000 to 40% now.

From my perspective, there are a number of reasons for this change–the federal government has made not working too comfortable. Our safety net has gotten too comfortable for many people, creating multi-generational welfare recipients. We did go through a recession after the housing bubble burst, but we are coming out of that now, and it is time for people to resume their job searches. Another reason for the fact that the workforce participation rate is so low might be that we are graduating students from college with no marketable skills or with the idea that since they just graduated, they can start their careers at the top of the corporate ladder. Some of these graduates refuse to look for jobs outside of their chosen degree field or refuse to begin any place other than at the top. There is also the matter of whatever work ethic students may or may not have learned in college.

The economy is looking better, but we have a long way to go before we can be considered actually prosperous–we need to deal with the debt and we need to shrink government drastically.

Moving Forward Slowly

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the economic numbers released today. The editorial is cautiously optimistic.

The editorial reports:

If you’re looking for good news in the latest jobs numbers, it’s hard to know where to start.

First, 313,000 was 50,000 more than expected, and is the biggest monthly gain in jobs in a year and a half.

In fact, since the recession ended in June 2009, there have only been six months in which job gains beat this number — which doesn’t say much for President Obama’s economic performance.

Better still, these employment gains were across the board. In fact, almost a third of the increase was in goods-producing industries, which climbed at a rate more than twice as fast as the overall job market.

The only part of the economy that didn’t grow was government, which can also be seen as good news. The federal workforce, in fact, dropped in February, and is now 14,000 lower than when Trump took office

At 4.1%, the overall unemployment rate is at a 17-year low, while the unemployment rates among blacks and Hispanics remain at historic lows.

But the employment numbers also show why, despite these strong gains, the economy is still far from “full employment.”

The article further reports that 653,000 people rejoined the labor force in February. That is really good news.

The editorial also notes the change in the workforce participation levels:

As a result, the employment-to-population ratio climbed to 60.4% in February. That’s higher than it ever got during Obama’s eight years in office. Better still, the employment-to-population ratio among those of prime working age jumped to 79.3%, its highest level in almost a decade.

And the labor force participation rate — the share of people looking or who have jobs — is now up to 63%, after having fallen steadily during Obama’s years (it went from 65.7% when he took office to 62.7% when he left).

There are still 5.1 million  Americans not in the labor force. Hopefully as the economy improves and the regulations on food stamps and welfare programs tighten, they will be able to find jobs.

The Numbers Are Good, But They Need To Be Better

The American economy is slowly improving. It is not racing along, but it is improving. Investor’s Business Daily recently posted an editorial explaining that although we have a 4.1 percent unemployment rate, we are not yet at full employment. As the article explains, there are other numbers that need to be considered when looking at the economy.

The editorial reports:

But look at the numbers more closely and you see that we are far from full employment.

First, the 0.1 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate in October was almost entirely the result of the fact that 968,000 dropped out of the labor force that month.

That’s right, for every new job created, nearly four people left the labor force.

The broader measure of unemployed — which combines those actively searching for a job with those working part time but want to work full time or are “marginally attached” to the labor force — show the jobless rate to be 7.9%.

And the IBD-TIPP poll shows that there’s likely even more slack than that. The October survey — which asks those polled whether they or anyone in their household is looking for work — shows that the share of job seekers is currently above 10%. This number, by the way, has consistently tracked higher than either of the BLS’s two measures.

Here’s another way to look at it. Back in December 2000, the unemployment rate was 3.9%. But that month, the labor force participation rate — the share of the population that’s either working or looking for a job — was 67%.

The current rate: 62.7%.

If the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was in 2000, the official unemployment rate would be more like 10%.

The 10% unemployment rate would be better than what the actual rate has been in recent years, but obviously, it is not good.

The editorial concludes:

There is clearly still a need for pro-growth policies to get millions of workers sitting on the sidelines back to work.

Those pro-growth policies need to begin with the passage of President Trump’s tax proposal followed by a complete repeal of ObamaCare. If the Republicans in Congress want to be re-elected, they need to do both. It is time to put away the fear of a political outsider succeeding as President and begin to work together to move the country forward.

An article on

An article on the website of the JFK Library includes the following paragraph:

The president finally decided that only a bold domestic program, including tax cuts, would restore his political momentum. Declaring that the absence of recession is not tantamount to economic growth, the president proposed in 1963 to cut income taxes from a range of 20-91% to 14-65% He also proposed a cut in the corporate tax rate from 52% to 47%. Ironically, economic growth expanded in 1963, and Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress insisted that reducing taxes without corresponding spending cuts was unacceptable. Kennedy disagreed, arguing that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and that strong economic growth would not continue without lower taxes.

I wonder if John Kennedy would be welcome in today’s Democratic party.

 

Mixed Economic News Because Of The Hurricanes

Generally speaking, the economic news is good–the workforce participation rate is up and unemployment is down. That is a good thing. The only negative is the fact that according to CNBC America lost 33,000 jobs in the month of September. That loss is attributed to the hurricanes that hit Florida and the Gulf Coast states.

CNBC further reports:

Even with the surprise jobs number, the closely watched hourly wages figure jumped higher, to an annualized rate of 2.9 percent.

 Economists surveyed by Reuters expected payroll growth of 90,000 in September, compared with 169,000 in August. The unemployment rate was expected to hold steady at 4.4 percent. It declined even as the labor-force participation rate rose to 63.1 percent, its highest level all year and the best reading since March 2014.

“The lousy returns from the September jobs report will make little impression on observers, who essentially gave the labor market a free pass due to the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” said Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions.

An alternate number that includes discouraged workers as well as those working part-time for economic reasons also tumbled, falling from 8.6 percent to 8.3 percent, its lowest reading since June 2007.

The Workforce Participation Rate increased to 63.1. The following chart showing changes in the Workforce Participation Rate is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

As you can see, the rate is slowly inching upward.

According to Bloomberg News, Americans are going back to work.

Bloomberg reports:

Americans are coming off the labor market’s sidelines at a pace that intensified in September.

The number of people going from out-of-the-labor-market into jobs jumped to an all-time high last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s employment report showed on Friday, even as the number of people flowing into unemployment fell. While these numbers can be volatile, they provide the latest confirmation that Americans are being pulled into work as the labor market tightens.

The positive changes in the economy are the result of the deregulation that has been going on since President Trump took office. There is still more deregulation needed. If all or part of the President’s tax reform proposals are put into effect, those reforms will also help encourage economic growth.

The ADP National Employment Report Was Released Today

The ADP National Employment Report was released today.  Yahoo News posted a story about the report.

The report includes the following:

The Report states:

“May proved to be a very strong month for job growth,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Professional and business services had the strongest monthly increase since 2014. This may be an indicator of broader strength in the workforce since these services are relied on by many industries.”

I am waiting for the workforce participation rate numbers for May to come out. Those numbers will provide more insight into what is happening with the American economy.

A Quick Summary Of The Trump Economy

Elections have consequences. Thank goodness that one of the consequences of the 2016 presidential election is a rollback of some of the regulations that were crippling the American economy. The Gateway Pundit has a summary of what has happened to the American economy under President Trump:

The DOW daily closing stock market average has risen nearly 14% since the election on November 8th. (On November 9th the DOW closed at 18,332 – on May 19th the DOW closed at 20,804).
* Since the Inauguration on January 20th the DOW is up 5%. (It was at 19,827 at January 20th.)
* The DOW took just 66 days to climb from 19,000 to above 21,000, the fastest 2,000 point run ever. The DOW closed above 19,000 for the first time on November 22nd and closed above 21,000 on March 1st.
* The DOW closed above 20,000 on January 25th and the March 1st rally matched the fastest-ever 1,000 point increase in the DOW at 24 days.
 * On February 28th President Trump matched President Reagan’s 1987 record for most continuous closing high trading days when the DOW reached a new high for its 12th day in a row!
* The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ have both set new all-time highs during this period.
* The US Stock Market gained $2 trillion in wealth since Trump was elected!
* The S&P 500 also broke $20 Trillion for the first time in its history.

Somehow this news has escaped the mainstream media.

The article also includes the following:

The article goes on to list job statistics and home sales statistics. I strongly suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article.

The article concludes:

In Summary

President Obama left President Trump with a weak economy and all sorts of domestic and foreign policy nightmares.  To date President Trump has had little time to address all of these messes but if he handles these as well as he has the economy Americans will soon be in a much better and safer place.

Overall based on the above data it is clear that President Trump is doing a solid, if not excellent job.

The mainstream liberal media won’t report this, but when looking at the economy, President Trump the businessman thumps the former community organizer Barack Obama.

Despite what the media is telling us, this does not sound like a White House in chaos. It sounds like a White House that is getting the country back on a solid economic footing despite tremendous opposition from the media.

While You Were Watching The Political Circus…

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that at the beginning of May the total continuing claims for unemployment benefits ran at the lowest level in 28 years. The workforce participation rate in April was 62.9 percent (in March it was 63.0). That number has been hovering at 62 and 63 percent since January of 2012.

The article reports:

Over the past month, the average number of continuing claims per week has clocked in at 1.95 million, the lowest number in 43 years.

Those numbers were released as part of the department’s weekly jobless claims report, which is valued by investors and government officials because it provides a frequently-updated indication of new claims for unemployment benefits, a proxy for layoffs. Fewer layoffs means more job creation.

Thursday’s report showed just 232,000 new claims, adjusted for seasonal variations, for the week ending on May 13. That was the lowest number in nearly three months, and an extremely low mark by historical standards.

…At 4.4 percent in April, the unemployment rate is already below where Federal Reserve officials thought it could sustainably go if the economy were fully healthy.

Jobless claims below 300,000, economists calculate, go along with steady or declining unemployment, meaning that the unemployment rate could fall further still.

Deregulation, efforts to repeal ObamaCare, and the development of America’s energy resources have a lot to do with the economic growth that has begun under President Trump. Note that all three of these things involve an undoing of President Obama’s policies. Elections do have consequences, and the 2016 election has had very positive economic consequences.

The March Economic Figures

The March Jobs Report was released today. Breitbart posted the numbers.

The article reports:

The United States created 98,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The number to watch is the Labor Force Participation Rate. That number has remained steady. It needs to go up, and I suspect that it will in the coming months.

This is the graph of the Labor Force Participation Rate since 2008:

It is my belief that as President Trump begins to remove the regulatory burdens from American industry, the Labor Force Participation Rate will increase. That will be the evidence that we are finally recovering from the recession that we entered eight years ago. The original recession was not the fault of President Obama, but the actions he took during his administration were not actions that were going to facilitate a strong recovery.

The Impact Of A President On The Economy

Reuters is reporting today that U. S. weekly jobless claims have recorded their biggest drop in two years.

The article reports:

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The drop was the largest since the week ending April 25, 2015.

The prior week’s data was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market for 109 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970 when the labor market was smaller.

The labor market is currently near full employment.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 250,000 last week.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s claims data. Claims for Louisiana were estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 4,500 to 250,000 last week.

The article reminds us that last week’s data will have no impact on the March unemployment report due out on Friday.

The article further reports:

According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 180,000 jobs last month after rising 235,000 in February. The unemployment rate is seen steady at 4.7 percent.

Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid decreased 24,000 to 2.03 million in the week ended March 25. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims fell 7,750 to 2.02 million, the lowest level since 2000.

This is good news. The number to watch in the report coming out tomorrow will be the Labor Force Participation Rate. If the unemployment rate stays low as more people enter the workforce, then we are on our way to an actual recovery. The unemployment number was kept artificially low during the Obama Administration by not counting people who had given up looking for work. As those people begin to look for work, it is quite possible that the unemployment number will rise slightly. In order to get a true picture of what is actually happening to employment in America, you need to look at both the unemployment rate and the Labor Force Participation Rate. The unemployment rate needs to be low and the Labor Force Participation Rate needs to be high. I will be posting both of those numbers as soon as I get them.

 

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.