The Economy Is Strong

No one really knows what impact the coronavirus will have on our economy, but as for now, the February jobs report showed a strong, vibrant, growing economy.

Yahoo News posted details of the report today.

The article reports:

The Labor Department released its February jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. Here were the main results from the report, compared to consensus expectations compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Change in non-farm payrolls: +273,000 vs. +175,000 expected and 273,000 in January
  • Unemployment rate: 3.5% vs. 3.6% expected and 3.6% in January
  • Avg. hourly earnings, month on month: +0.3% vs. +0.3% expected and +0.2% in January
  • Avg. hourly earnings, year on year: 3.0% vs. +3.0% expected and 3.1% in January

January’s job gains were upwardly revised to 273,000, from the 225,000 previously reported, and December’s non-farm payroll additions were upwardly revised by 37,000 to 184,000. This brought average job gains over the past three months up to 243,000, or above the average from 2019, when job growth averaged 178,000 per month.

The services sector again led the advance in job gains in February. Within this sector, health-care and social assistance added 56,500 payrolls, accelerating gains from January. Professional and business services also posted strong job gains, adding a net 41,000 positions.

Within the services sector, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing and temporary health services shed jobs in February. Retail posted the largest declines, losing a net 7,000 positions and extending a drop of 5,800 from January.

For the goods-producing sector, manufacturing added jobs for the first time in three months, posting a net 15,000 payroll gains. Construction and mining each also added jobs, underscoring a firming of the goods-producing sector in February after months of weakness relative to services. Employment in construction rose by 42,000 positions for the month after a gain of 49,000 in January, representing the best two-month advance for the industry since March 2018, as unseasonably warm weather and a strengthening housing market helped supported hiring.

The Workforce Participation Rate remained steady at 63.4 percent.

It’s always interesting to me that when the jobs report comes out during a Republican administration, the numbers always seem to be higher than the experts predicted. There will be some impact in March from the coronavirus because of the disruption in the global supply chain the virus has caused, but I believe the economy is strong enough to recover from any glitches that may occur (despite the undisguised wishes of the Democrat party for a serious economic downturn).

I Totally Don’t Understand This

Yesterday Breitbart News reported a puzzling comment by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat. Representative Clyburn was being interviewed on Fox Business Network by Neil Cavuto. The article includes part of the transcript of that interview.

The article reports:

NEIL CAVUTO: As you’ve been seeing with Michael Bloomberg, he’s been jumping in the polls on the heels of his very expensive, pricey ad buys if you include $125 million slated for Super Tuesday. Could you, would you back him?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN: I’m going to back whoever our nominee is — Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Even with the things he’s said about African-Americans? Does that bother you?

REP. CLYBURN: Not as much as what Trump has said about African-Americans. Anytime that I go to the polls, I’m considering positives and negatives on all candidates and I try to go with the one whose positives outweigh the negatives.

CAVUTO: Let’s leave the words aside, whether you like his style or not, tweets or not, or comments or not, he’s delivered the goods for a lot of African-Americans. Does he not with record-low unemployment levels?… You don’t think that’s something that’s constructive?

REP. CLYBURN: No, because it’s not true. I’m saying that the African American unemployment is not the lowest it’s ever been unless you count slavery… We were fully employed during slavery. So, it all depends how you measure this up.

This is how blind hatred affects judgement.

On February 7, 2020, CNS News reported:

Trump loves to boast and exaggerate, so it’s easy to throw out little “Pinocchio” ratings when Trump claims we have the lowest black unemployment rate in American history, since it’s only been measured since 1972. But it’s literally the lowest ever measured in American history. What the fact-checkers are doing is littering achievements with asterisks, trying to distract from the undeniable fact that unemployment is at record lows for blacks, Hispanics, women, the disabled and undoubtedly other groups Democrats claim to champion.

This is the link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website page that has all of the unemployment statistics. You can explore that page for pure numbers. We should all celebrate the fact that the Trump economy has been good to all Americans of all backgrounds.

The Trump Economy

Newsmax posted an article today about the state of the American economy.

The article reports:

Companies in the U.S. ramped up hiring at the start of the year, taking on the most workers since May 2015 and indicating the labor market remains robust, a report on private payrolls showed Wednesday.

Employment at businesses increased by 291,000 in January after a revised 199,000 gain in the previous month, according to data from the ADP Research Institute.

The article includes the following statistics:

  • The larger-than-expected gain was broad-based and included the biggest advance in service industry payrolls since February 2016, including a record surge in hiring at leisure and hospitality companies in data back to 2002.
  • The report is in line with last week’s statement from Federal Reserve policy makers following their meeting on interest rates. The Fed said that “job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months.”
  • Economists monitor the ADP data for clues about the government’s job report. The Labor Department’s employment data due Friday is expected to show a 150,000 gain in private payrolls and an unemployment rate remaining at a 50-year-low of 3.5%.
  • The government figures will also include annual revisions. In August, the Labor Department’s preliminary benchmark projections showed the number of workers added to payrolls will probably be revised down by 501,000 in the year through March 2019. ADP’s report follows a different methodology than the government’s, and the two do not directly correlate with each other.
  • ADP report showed goods-producing payrolls rose 54,000 in January, while service-provider employment increased 237,000.
  • Hiring in construction jumped 47,000, the most in a year, and manufacturing showed a 10,000 increase in January, which was the biggest gain in 11 months.
  • Payrolls at small businesses increased by 94,000 last month, the most since July 2018; rose 128,000 at medium-sized companies and 69,000 at large firms.
  • ADP’s payroll data represent about 411,000 firms employing nearly 24 million workers in the U.S.

President Trump was mocked during the election campaign for saying he could bring back manufacturing jobs and turn the economy around. His trade agreements have done what other politicians considered impossible. I should note that people who think something is impossible don’t attempt to accomplish it. Maybe we need to elect people who are willing to attempt the impossible rather than those who simply make empty promises.

The Trump Economy

The November jobs report was released this morning. CNS News posted an article this morning with the numbers.

The article reports:

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says the economy added a whopping 266,000 jobs in November; and for the sixth month in a row, a record number of Americans were counted as employed.

158,593,000 Americans were working in November, the 24th record of Trump’s presidency.

The unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 3.5 percent, a 50-year low.

In November, the civilian non-institutional population in the United States was 260,020,000. That included all people 16 and older who did not live in an institution (such as a prison, nursing home or long-term care facility).

Of that civilian non-institutional population, 164,404,000 were participating in the labor force, meaning that they either had a job or were actively seeking one during the last month. This resulted in a labor force participation rate of 63.2 percent.

The labor force participation rate has never been higher than 67.3 percent, a level achieved in the early months of 2000. The Trump-era high was set last month at 63.3 percent. Economists say retiring baby boomers account for some of the decline since the turn of the century.

This report partially explains why the Democrats are in such a rush to impeach President Trump. Historically a President whose first term includes a booming economy is almost always re-elected. Unless the economy changes drastically in the next year, President Trump will serve two terms. There is also the matter of the electability of the Democrat candidates.

A Much-Needed Change

National Review posted an article yesterday about a new policy regarding food stamps that will go into effect in April of next year.

The article reports:

In theory, the program has a strict time limit for “ABAWDs,” or able-bodied adults without dependents: If they don’t meet their work requirement or receive a case-by-case exemption from their state, they may receive food stamps for at most three months in any 36-month period. But in practice, the executive branch has broad discretion to waive the limit for large geographic areas with weak labor markets — and previous administrations used that discretion promiscuously. As of 2017, about a third of the U.S. population lived in waived areas.

Under the old rule, any place with an unemployment rate one-fifth above the national average was eligible for a waiver. (Places could — and still can — also establish eligibility by having an absolute rate over 10 percent.) This meant that when unemployment was low throughout the country, areas with good labor markets could still receive waivers, simply because unemployment wasn’t quite as low there as it was elsewhere.

The old rule also allowed states to effectively gerrymander their waiver requests, combining high- and low-unemployment counties to maximize the number of people exempted. All told, states such as Illinois and California were able to obtain waivers for all but a few of their counties.

In short, the system was unfair and arbitrary, imposing time limits on some recipients but not others based on where they happened to live, failing to target the waivers toward truly needy areas, and allowing states to abuse the rules to draw in more federally funded benefits.

Now there will be a new rule.

The article reports:

Under the new rule, effective in April of next year, these waivers won’t be granted to areas with unemployment below 6 percent. And states will be far more limited in the geographical configurations they can request waivers for. These are entirely reasonable policies, and well within the range of discretion the statute grants to the executive branch.

Many on the left complain about the rule simply because it will reduce the number of people on food stamps — by about 700,000, roughly 2 percent of total food-stamp enrollment, by the administration’s own estimate. But increasing benefit receipt is not an end in itself, especially when it comes at the expense of an incentive for childless, able-bodied adults to find work; and given the massive growth the program has seen these past two decades, there is clearly room for cuts. (Despite the recovery, total enrollment is about double what it was in 2000.) Perhaps more to the point, whatever one’s ideal level of food-stamp enrollment, there is no good reason to gut work requirements for entire areas with low unemployment while enforcing those requirements elsewhere — or to let states play games with their maps to boost eligibility.

Food stamps and similar programs are meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Generational welfare represents a failure of our families, educational system, and society. It is time that we encouraged and helped people to make the choices that will allow them to be financially stable and successful.

The Numbers Are In

CNBC is reporting today that nonfarm payrolls rose by 128,000 in October, exceeding the estimate of 75,000 from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

The article notes:

There were big revisions of past numbers as well. August’s initial 168,000 payrolls addition was revised up to 219,000, while September’s jumped from 136,000 to 180,000.

The unemployment rate ticked slightly higher to 3.6% from 3.5%, still near the lowest in 50 years.

The pace of average hourly earnings picked up a bit, rising 0.1% to a year-over-year 3% gain.

The article also reports:

Central bank leaders have largely praised the state of the U.S. economy, particularly compared with its global peers. The Fed earlier this week lowered its benchmark interest rate a quarter point, the third such move this year, but Chairman Jerome Powell clearly indicated that this likely will be the last cut for some time unless conditions change significantly.

“The October jobs report is unambiguously positive for the US economic outlook,” said Citigroup economist Andrew Hollenhorst. “Above-consensus hiring in October, together with upward revisions to prior months, is consistent with our view that job growth, while clearly slower in 2019 than in 2018, will maintain a pace of 130-150K per month. Wage growth remaining at 3.0% should further support incomes and consumption-led growth.”

The economic policies of President Trump have resulted in significant economic growth for America. American workers at all levels are enjoying the benefits of these policies. The decision for the voters in 2020 will be whether or not they choose to continue this economic growth.

Good News For Working Americans

Breitbart posted an article today about the latest economic numbers.

The article reports:

The U.S. economy created 136,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent.

Economists had expected the economy to between 120,000 and 179,000 with the consensus number at 145,000, according to Econoday. Unemployment was expected to remain unchanged at last month’s 3.7 percent.

The jobs data for the two previous months were also revised upward, indicating that the labor market was stronger over the summer than previously indicated. Employment for July was revised up by 7,000 from 159,000 to 166,000, and August was revised up by 38,000 from 130,000 to 168,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 45,000 more than previously reported.

The stronger numbers for July and August may also explain the slightly-below expectations figure for September since some of the growth in employment forecast for last month had already occurred.

The last time the rate was this low was in December 1969, when it also was 3.5 percent.

Economic data has been intensely scrutinized this week for signs of economic sluggishness after the Institute for Supply Management’s survey of manufacturing companies suggested the manufacturing sector had unexpectedly contracted for a second consecutive month. Survey data of non-manufacturing companies, however, showed that the services sector continued to expand in September. Similarly, data on private payrolls and unemployment claims suggested that the U.S. economy had cooled but was not near a recession.

The September workforce participation rate remains unchanged at 63.2 percent. This is a chart showing changes in the rate since 2009:

Good Economic News For Americans

According to Investopedia:

A FICO score is a type of credit score created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Lenders use borrowers’ FICO scores along with other details on borrowers’ credit reports to assess credit risk and determine whether to extend credit. FICO scores take into account various factors in five areas to determine creditworthiness: payment history, current level of indebtedness, types of credit used, length of credit history, and new credit accounts.

Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about how the Trump economic policies have impacted the FICO scores of Americans.

The article reports:

Americans’ average FICO score has hit an all-time high of 706 on the personal credit rating scale. Ethan Dornhelm, the vice president for scores and analytics at FICO, told CBS News that a score of more than 700 basically qualifies individuals for just about any credit at favorable terms.

FICO scores range from 300 to 850. A score above 700 is considered great, and a score above 760 is considered excellent. This high national credit score may be largely attributed to the strong economy, with its historically low unemployment rate, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“This record-long stretch of economic growth has helped minimize reliance on debt to pay the bills,” said Joel Griffith, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “Low interest rates help ensure a greater portion of loan payment goes to paying down principal rather than merely making interest payments.”

Creditworthiness is now increasing, which means Americans have the ability to rely on their paychecks, not just borrowing from their futures, to fulfill their financial obligations.

Americans’ average FICO score hit a low during the financial downturn of 2008, with a score of 686. After the recession passed, the nation’s average FICO score continuously grew.

Is giving Americans more access to larger lines of credit such a good thing? According to Griffith and Federal Reserve Bank data, U.S. household debt is also declining. Even now that Americans are able to take on more debt, they are not. They’re paying off their credit cards and increasingly lowering their other debt.

Unfortunately, this national accomplishment has not been a topic discussed among 2020 Democratic nominees. Why have the Democratic presidential candidates shied away from talking about the economy? Because, they call for an economy that “works for everyone,” when the current system is working for more people than ever before.

A Gallup poll shows that 88 percent of Americans believe the current U.S. economy is either “fair,” “good,” or “excellent.” That’s because this economy has provided 5.1 million new jobs and dropped the unemployment rate to 3.7 percent — the lowest rate in nearly half a century.

Leadership and economic policies make a difference to ALL Americans. The tax cuts and economic policies of President Trump have ‘worked for everyone.’ The government cannot create an economy the ‘works for everyone’ by taking money from people who earn it and giving it to people who did not earn it. An economy  that ‘works for everyone’ is created when everyone has the opportunity to find a job or start a company and create their own success.

Is This The Future We Want For America?

Breitbart posted an article today about a tax crisis in Sweden. The causes are something Americans need to consider as our southern border continues to be seen as a political issue rather than a national security and economic issue.

The article reports:

A Swedish municipality that took in one of the highest numbers of asylum seekers per population faces a crisis as natives move out and decimate the local tax base.

The municipality of Filipstad took in many asylum seekers during the migrant crisis of 2015 and now are facing increasing costs as unemployment among migrants has surged and financial assistance rates have tripled, broadcaster SVT reports.

Claes Hultgren, the local municipal manager, described the situation, saying of the migrant population: “In this group, unemployment and dependency are very high, while education levels are very low. This group runs the risk of ending in an eternal alienation that is already heavily burdening the municipal economy.”

The article concludes:

While many cities across Sweden are facing housing shortages, the rate of unemployment between native Swedes and migrants is stark.

A 2018 report stated that the unemployment rate for native Swedes was a mere 3.6 per cent while the foreign-born rate was much higher at 19.9 per cent. The city of Malmo, which has a high migration-background population, was shown to have double the national unemployment average.

At some point, we need to realize that generosity has to have limits. You can only accept a certain amount of people who are dependent on others for their basic needs before those policies have a negative impact on the people who are working to meet their own basic needs. Charity is a wonderful part of life, but it has to be voluntary and it has to be within the bounds of ability. The number of immigrants coming into Europe and America who have no marketable skills and do not know the language is a burden on the economics of the countries involved. Immigration needs to be controlled, and assimilation needs to be part of immigration.

A Positive Economic Picture

CNS News is reporting today that the economy is doing better than predicted.

The article reports:

A record 157,005,000 people were employed in June, the most since February and the 19th record of Trump’s presidency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

And the economy added a strong 224,000 jobs in June, well above the estimate of 160,000.

The unemployment rate, the lowest in 50 years, ticked up a tenth of a point to 3.7 percent.

In June, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 259,037,000. Of those, 162,981,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 162,981,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 62.9 percent of the 259,037,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population. That’s up a tenth of a point from May’s 62.8 percent participation rate. The payroll taxes paid by people who participate in the labor force help support those who do not participate, so the higher this number, the better.

The participation rate reached a record high of 67.3 percent in early 2000; the highest it’s been under Trump is 63.2 percent.

In December 2016, the labor force participation rate was 62.7. It has moved between 62.7 and 63.1 since President Trump took office.

I love the fact that during a Republican administration, the estimates of jobs created is always low and economists are always surprised when the real numbers come out.

The article concludes:

And wages continue rising: In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.90, following a 9-cent gain in May. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1 percent.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in a June 25 speech, said the economy has performed “reasonably well” so far this year, with continued growth and strong job creation keeping the unemployment rate near historic lows.

But Powell also mentioned “some ongoing cross-currents,” including trade uncertainty and incoming data about the strength of the global economy.

He said the Fed “will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion…” That could mean lower interest rates — or not, if the employment and job numbers remain strong.

Economic policies impact the economy. It matters who is occupying the White House. President Trump has proved that.

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.

This Could Make The Next Two Years Very Interesting

Don Surber posted an article today that included some rather surprising information.

The article reports:

Brad Parscale, Donald John Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, told Jesse Watters last night that 34% of the people who attended the president’s rally in Grand Rapids were registered Democrats.

Parscale knows that because people needed to give the campaign their cellphone numbers to get tickets. The campaign then used the information to check their voting record.

…Parscale called the Green New Deal a big juicy steak for the campaign.

Axios limited its report on the interview to Parscale saying, “[Trump] has been very easy to work with this week. He’s been very smiley.

“I was in the White House this week; he served me hors d’oeuvres. That was a first. … [A] little pigs in a blanket, some meatballs. …He gave me a Diet Coke; he was very happy. It was my first [time] in nine years serving, of hors d’oeuvres from the president. Which is safe to say, very good mood.”

Axios was the only outlet (besides Fox News) that I could find with a report on the interview.

Gee, I wonder how the experts missed that last election?

It’s difficult to ignore the economic success of the Trump administration. I suspect those in the deep state will attempt to undermine that success during the next year or so, but there are some fundamental changes in regulations that will make that difficult. The unemployment rate and the workforce participation rate speak for themselves. Salaries at the lower end of the wage scale are going up. People are keeping more of what they earn. The mainstream media is not telling us all of the good news, but people are experiencing better economic times and discounting the media. This President has dealt with an unprecedented assault on our southern border and is beginning to deal with the problem in spite of Congress–not with the help of Congress. The President has also dealt with an unprecedented attack on him personally and on his family. It is time to stop harassing the President and let him lead. The attendance at his rallies are an indication that the public is not listening to the mainstream media–they are doing their own research and drawing their own conclusions.

Even The Good News Is Clouded With Doom When The Media Reports It

Market Watch posted an article yesterday about the January trade deficit in America. The article notes that the deficit shrank to $51.1 billion in January from almost $60 billion in December. That is really good news. However, the media doesn’t seem to want good economic news.

The article notes:

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a $57.7 billion deficit.

Notice that they were more than a little off.

The article continues:

The lower U.S. trade deficit, if it persists, could provide a small boost in the first quarter to gross domestic product, the official scorecard of the economy. But the drop in imports could also be taken as sign of softening demand in the U.S. that adds to worries about a slower growth.

Whatever the case, the U.S. is coming off the highest annual deficit in a decade and it’s unlikely the gap will shrink much if at all in 2019.

The President is renegotiating trade deals. This is not an ‘instant’ process. His negotiating skills and business acumen are responsible for the growing economy–the unemployment rate is down and the workforce participation rate is up. Can someone in the media please give President Trump a little credit and show a little optimism.

Facts Are Such Inconvenient Things

The biggest advantage the Republicans will have in 2020 is a strong economy. Because the Democrats know this, they are trying very hard to downplay the economic recovery that is currently taking place. They have invented some interesting facts in their attempt to do this. However, the alternative media has learned to fact check these attempts to downplay President Trump’s economic success.

Townhall posted an article today that includes some recent fact checking.

The article reports on some recent statement by Kamala Harris:

First, I’m not sure many economists or Republicans cite the stock market as the top indicator of economic health, despite her initial straw man claim. There are many other metrics that are more indicative and more helpful to building that argument, which we’ll mention in a moment.  But it’s also worth pointing out that a robust stock market is not merely good news for people who own stocks, as Harris sarcastically says.  Plenty of workers’ benefit and retirement funds, including those of many public sector employees, are tied into the performance of the stock market — so it’s not just investors who benefit when markets are humming along, and it’s not just investors who feel pain when markets sustain hits. 

Second, in her attempt to downplay the impressive, stable and low US unemployment rate, Harris recycles a claim for which AOC was slapped down by fact-checkers a few months ago.  Even left-leaning Politifact assigned her a “pants on fire” rating.  Harris’ spin is less explicitly clumsy and wrong than AOC’s, as she didn’t specifically state that the low rate is directly attributable to people working more than one job, which makes absolutely no sense — but she does use this argument to undercut the (compelling) argument that the economy is in good shape because so many Americans are employed.  While it’s certainly true that a substantial number of people are working multiple jobs in order to make ends meet, it’s not accurate to pretend that this phenomenon is sufficiently widespread as to justify Harris’ talking point.

The article further reports:

The February jobs report found that just five percent of the employed population is working more than one job, down from 5.2 percent one year ago.  The experiences of the people who constitute that five percent matter, of course, but they are not evidence of a larger trend — and certainly not a trend that represents a real basis to shrug off the historically-low unemployment rate.  The jobs report that came out on Friday was a major ‘miss’ on a key number, with the US economy adding only 20,000 jobs last month; economists were expecting 180,000.  That’s a potentially concerning data point, underscoring the folly of simply assuming that the current prosperity streak will continue unabated.  But there were positive statistics, too.  The previous two months’ job creation data was revised upward by 12,000, and the overall unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent.  That marks 12 consecutive months, a full year, with the U3 figure at or below four percent, which is unambiguously good.

The article concludes:

Sustainability is a fair worry for the White House, but as of this moment, the most useful measuring sticks of the US economy are unemployment (3.8 percent), GDP growth (3.1 percent Q4 to Q4), and wage growth (3.4 percent).  All three are impressive.  Harris’ snarky point, therefore, is weak.  

As wages and jobs increase, voters will have to decide whether to believe what they are experiencing or what they are being told.

The Power Of The Media Illustrated

This is the current polling from RealClearPolitics:

This is some recent economic news reported by The Washington Times on January 9:

Given the dazzling December economic data, it’s no wonder the press gave it short shrift. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added a whopping 312,000 jobs, far more than the expected 176,000. After revisions, job gains have averaged an impressive 254,000 per month over the past three months. Job growth in 2018 (an average of 220,000 per month) passed that of both 2016 (195,000) and 2017 (182,000). Payrolls increased by 2.6 million in 2018, the highest since 2015.

The sunny jobs picture encouraged 419,000 new workers to enter the workforce and sent the labor force participation rate up to 63.1 percent. Unemployment rates among blacks, Latinos and women are at or near historic lows.

Job growth has also meant significant wage growth. Wages are up a stunning 3.2 percent from last year and .4 percent from November. December was the third straight month that the yearlong growth in nominal average hourly earnings was above 3 percent in nearly a decade; the last time we saw that trend was April 2009. Wages are also being given an assist by inflation being kept in check.

The article at The Washington Times concludes:

His (President Trump’s) astounding economic track record is their worst nightmare. It puts the lie to the nonsense Mr. Obama, the Democrats and the media have been shoveling for years: That anemic economic growth, high unemployment, the collapse of manufacturing and grotesque trade imbalances were the “new normal.”

It also pointedly demonstrates that the statist vision — radical wealth redistribution, socialized medicine, green energy chimeras, social justice enforcement, limits on free speech, private property and gun ownership, and the rule of the leftist mob — creates only tyranny, poverty, injustice and servitude. (Note the deflection: These are things the left claims to want to eradicate.)

Mr. Trump and his economic thunderbolt are exposing the left and its policies as irredeemably bankrupt, economically and morally. And that is perhaps the biggest reason why they must try to destroy him.

A lot of this economic news has not been reported. However, people do notice when there are more jobs available and there is more money in their paycheck. President Trump’s approval numbers are finally in positive numbers. The economy is booming. What would be the basis for most Americans believing America is headed in the wrong direction? Might it be the constant negative reporting from the media? Can you imaging what President Trump’s approval rating would be if the media were actually balanced? Just remember–the people vote. The media represents only a small percentage of votes.

Let’s Talk About The Rebuttal

It’s not easy to give the rebuttal speech to the State of the Union. Chances are that you don’t have a copy of what you are rebutting. I guess you can make changes at the last minute, but the majority of your speech has to be written before you have a clue what it is supposed to be about. It’s not a great place to be. That said, however, I would like to take issue with some of the comments made by Stacey Abrams last night. Much of what she said was only half of the truth, and some of what she said was simply not true.

Time posted a transcript of her speech. I would like to talk about sections of that speech.

Ms. Abrams stated:

Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers. They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn’t received a paycheck in weeks. Making their livelihoods a pawn for political games is a disgrace. The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people – but our values.

It was nice of her to give out meals, but she failed to mention that all of those furloughed workers received every penny of their back pay. The simply got an extra paid vacation.

She further stated:

In Georgia and around the country, people are striving for a middle class where a salary truly equals economic security. But instead, families’ hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn’t understand it. Under the current administration, far too many hard-working Americans are falling behind, living paycheck to paycheck, most without labor unions to protect them from even worse harm.

The Republican tax bill rigged the system against working people. Rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing, layoffs are looming and wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living.

We owe more to the millions of everyday folks who keep our economy running: like truck drivers forced to buy their own rigs, farmers caught in a trade war, small business owners in search of capital, and domestic workers serving without labor protections. Women and men who could thrive if only they had the support and freedom to do so.

Hasn’t she read the economic numbers? On December 20th, The National Review reported:

A recent Wall Street Journal economic analysis of current jobs reports found that worker wages were starting to rise above inflation and that the biggest percentage gains were showing up in the paychecks of the lowest income workers. In other words, income inequality with respect to take home pay was shrinking.

…Remarkable, too, about this chart is that every group that was least likely to vote for Trump has seen an abnormally large gain in jobs and wages. Our supposed racist president has delivered outsized economic gains for blacks and Hispanics — with both groups now experiencing the lowest unemployment rates in at least a half century. So much for Trump’s policies benefiting only white America. The rich are clearly not “the big winners” from Trump’s economic policies.

Contrast that with the economy when Democrats were in charge:

The poor and unskilled that Mr. Obama was supposed to lift out of poverty saw their incomes fall by 7.4 percent for those with less than a high school diploma and 8.2 percent for those with only a high school diploma. In dollar terms, between the time the Obama recovery began in June 2009 and until June 2014, median black household income fell by nearly $3,000, Hispanic households lost nearly $2,500, and female-headed households lost roughly $1,500. In 2015 and 2016, income gains were thankfully reversed for these demographic groups, but many still lost ground over eight years. The income gains under Mr. Obama were mostly concentrated in those Americans in the top 20 percent of income. This is why the income gap between rich and poor rose nearly every year under Obama.

Ms. Abrams, if you truly cared about the success of the middle and lower classes, you would support the policies of President Trump. President Trump’s economic policies have worked. President Obama’s economic policies failed miserably. I would also like to note that illegal immigration depresses the wages of unskilled workers. The Democrat party sold out the working man a long time ago.

 

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?

The Workforce Participation Rate

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about the January Workforce Participation Rate. This is the number of people in America either working or looking for jobs. When President Obama took office in January 2009, the Workforce Participation Rate was 65.7. That number dropped to a low of 62.4 in September 2015 and began slowly climbing, reaching a high of 62.9 in September 2016. The number hovered around there for a while until finally reaching 63.2 in January 2019.

Here is the chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The article at CNS News reports:

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the economy added 304,000 jobs last month, higher than analysts were expecting.

The number of employed Americans, 156,694,000, was slightly below last month’s record (156,945,000), and the unemployment rate increased a tenth of a point to 4.0 percent.

But the labor force participation rate increased a tenth of a point to 63.2 percent — the highest it’s been on President Trump’s watch.

The CNS News article included an excerpt from the Congressional Budget Report released this week:

According to CBO:

Employment: Nonfarm payroll employment is projected to grow by an average of 148,000 jobs per month in 2019, a decline from 213,000 jobs/month in 2018 but “still a healthy pace of job growth at this stage of the business cycle.”

Unemployment rate: The unemployment rate, now at its lowest point since the 1960s, is projected to fall from 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 3.5 percent by the end of 2019. The anticipated decline in the unemployment rate reflects a continued increase in the demand for labor, which will reduce the number of unemployed workers in the labor force this year.

CBO said the demand for labor and the resulting upward pressure on compensation also encourages people to remain in the labor force or rejoin it, making the labor force larger and thus moderating the decline in the unemployment rate.

Labor force participation: The labor force participation rate, which has hovered around 62.8 percent since 2014, is expected to remain close to that rate during the next two years.

CBO explained that the stability of the labor force participation rate in recent years reflects the balancing of two opposing forces: sustained economic growth, which continues to encourage additional workers to enter the labor force and currently employed workers to stay on the job; and long-run shifts in demographics (particularly the aging of the population).

Labor compensation. After several years of prolonged weakness, wage growth accelerated notably in 2018, CBO noted. Over the next few years, labor compensation is expected to rise further as employment remains at elevated levels and firms must compete for a relatively small pool of unemployed or underemployed workers.

In CBO’s projections, annual growth of the employment cost index for wages and salaries of workers in private industry averages 3.5 percent between 2019 and 2023, slightly more rapid than its 3.3 percent pace in 2018 and considerably more rapid than the 2.0 percent average from 2009 to 2017.

President Trump’s economic policies are working. If he is allowed to continue those policies with a Democrat House of Representatives, he will be re-elected in 2020, so prepare to see the House of Representatives attempt to roll back many of those policies.

Consequences Of Good Economic Policy

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about The Heritage Foundation’s 25th annual “Index of Economic Freedom.”

The editorial reports:

In just one year, the U.S. climbed six places to 12th worldwide on the Heritage Foundation’s 25th annual “Index of Economic Freedom.” The U.S. index score of 76.8 is the highest since 2011, the report says.

Heritage bases its annual rankings on a dozen different measures of economic freedom, such as tax burden, protection of property rights, tax burden trade policies, labor laws, judicial effectiveness.

…In fact, during Obama’s tenure, the U.S. plunged from 6th place down to 18th on the Heritage freedom rank, in the wake of tax hikes and massive new financial, insurance and environmental regulations.

The editorial explains the importance of these ratings:

Why do these rankings matter? As Heritage explains, there’s a clear correlation between economic freedom and prosperity. The freer an economy is, the more prosperous its people.

Heritage finds that in countries consistently rated “free” or “mostly free,” average incomes are twice that of all other countries, and five times that of “repressed” economies.

The most striking example of the connection between freedom and prosperity is Venezuela. One of the wealthiest countries in South America before socialist dictator Hugo Chávez took control, Venezuela is now racked with hyperinflation, starvation, and political chaos.

But you can see the same impact in the U.S. as well.

The editorial concludes:

And the benefits of this growth are widespread. The unemployment rate was just 3.9% at the end of the year. The job market is so vibrant right now that it’s pulling people off the sidelines to look for work. In fact, the number of people who aren’t in the labor force actually declined last year. That hasn’t happened since 1996 — which was in the middle of the Clinton boom. Wage growth is accelerating, and median household incomes are at record highs.

The freedom index is a powerful reminder that while redistributionist policies — like those currently in favor among Democrats — might be emotionally satisfying, they won’t grow the economy or boost prosperity.

It will be interesting where our rating is next year in view of the fact that the Democrats now control the House of Representatives.

Americans Often Vote With Their Feet

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about New York City’s shrinking middle class.

The article reports:

After decades of sharp income erosion in the face of relentless taxes, escalating living costs and wage reductions through technological changes, the full extent of this shocking exodus is laid bare in the latest US Census data.

That shows the city is losing 100 residents each day — with departures exceeding new arrivals.

“The rich in New York City are getting richer; the poor are actually getting richer, but not rich enough to be middle class,” said Peter C. Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research, who has studied other data, noting the expansion in welfare and entitlement programs.

Earle said it isn’t unreasonable to assume middle-class incomes are falling even faster in New York City than in other major US cities, because of the city’s high — and rising — housing and other living costs.

New York City’s middle class comprises 48 percent of city residents, with median annual incomes between $30,000 and $60,000.

Thirty-one percent make lower incomes, and the ranks of the rich account for 21 percent of New York City residents.

By contrast, in the early 1970s, about 61 percent of New Yorkers were ensconced in the middle class; today, fewer than half are.

Recently Amazon opened a facility in Long Island City that received an estimated $3 billion in subsidies, increasing the tax burden on city residents. Although increasing the number of jobs is a good idea, having the taxpayers pay for those jobs is not.

The article concludes:

National chain-store locations have plunged in the city by 0.3 percent, to 7,849, this year, according to the Center for an Urban Future. And a record 18 chains, including Aerosoles and Nine West, vacated all their city sites in 2018.

One sector doing a booming “business” is food pantries. Despite a city unemployment rate of 4 percent, New York food pantries report elevated levels of demand, especially during the holiday season.

More than 1 million New Yorkers now worry they won’t have enough food for their families, according to recent studies.

Unless something changes in the economic policies of New York City, the city will no longer be the center of commerce and art that it has been. The voters in New York City need to take a good look at where there city is going and make the appropriate political changes.

When Congress Fails To Do Its Job, The Executive Branch Has To Do It

The Washington Times posted an article today about the Farm Bill that was recently passed. The House of Representatives added a more stringent work requirement to the Food Stamps Program, but the Senate eliminated the requirement. Thus the Farm Bill as it currently stands puts a 20-hour-per-week work requirement only on people between the ages of 18 and 49 who receive food stamps.

The article reports:

President Trump moved Thursday to tighten work requirements for people who receive food stamps, after Congress failed to include the proposal in a $400 billion farm bill that’s headed to the president’s desk.

The Agriculture Department said it is proposing a rule on Mr. Trump’s orders that would move “more able-bodied recipients” of food stamps back into working at least 20 hours per week.

“Long-term reliance on government assistance has never been part of the American dream,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “As we make benefits available to those who truly need them, we must also encourage participants to take proactive steps toward self-sufficiency. Moving people to work is common-sense policy, particularly at a time when the unemployment rate is at a generational low.”

…Currently, able-bodied adults ages 18-49 without children are required to work 20 hours a week to keep their food-stamp benefits. The House measure would have raised the age of recipients subject to work requirements from 49 to 59 and required parents with children older than 6 to work or participate in job training.

The Labor Force Participation Rate currently stands at 52.9 percent. The Unemployment Rate currently stands at 3.7 percent. Wages at all levels have risen under President Trump. Inflation for 2018 is slightly over 2 percent. There is no reason anyone collecting food stamps cannot find a place to work for 20 hours a week or enter a job-training program that will help them find a job that pays enough for them to get off of food stamps. The Agriculture Department is doing the right thing in looking into strengthening the work requirements to collect food stamps.

Another Bad Idea From A Socialist

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about Senator Bernie Sanders’ latest great idea–he wants to put all sorts of restrictions on Walmart until they start paying all of their employees $15 an hour.

The editorial states:

With typical Sanders subtlety, his new legislative proposal is called the “Stop WALMART act.”

Under it, big employers like Walmart would be banned from buying back shares in their own company unless they paid all their workers at least $15 an hour. They’d also have to cap CEO pay at 150 times the median employee pay, and provide seven days of paid sick leave. (Why Sanders doesn’t also include free lunches and bus tokens in his list of demands isn’t clear.)

Sanders says he’s building on the success of his Stop BEZOS act, which would have dictated that large companies “pay back” the cost of any government benefits received by any of their workers.

The editorial reminds us:

This is a company that employs 1.5 million people across the country. Some may not make what Sanders deems appropriate. But it’s good enough for many unskilled workers, who if they had a better offer would have taken it.

What’s more, Walmart’s relentless pursuit of lower prices not only helps middle class families stretch their hard-earned dollars further, but has helped hold down inflation economywide, according to economists who’ve studied the “Walmart effect.” That benefits everyone.

…If Sanders really wants to help Walmart workers, two proven things work. Cut taxes and deregulate the economy.

In the wake of the Trump tax cuts — which Sanders vehemently opposed — Walmart boosted its starting wage to $11 an hour, up from $9. It also handed out bonuses that started at $250 and climbed to $1,000 depending on years of service.

Meanwhile, the economic boom under Trump’s economic policies has cut the unemployment rate to 50-year lows. It’s also drawn millions back into the workforce, and sparked the fastest wage growth in a decade.

No mandates. No threats or browbeating. No central planning needed.

Walmart is probably not the ideal career for everyone. However, I personally know someone who was able to support himself at college by working there part time. They hired a young kid out of high school and helped him get an education. He didn’t make it a career, but it helped move him toward the career he wanted.

Since when does the American government have the right to target a specific company and tell them what they must pay their employees?

The Economic Numbers From October

First of all, the following chart is found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. It shows the Workforce Participation Rate in recent years.

The number 62.9 is not a great number, but it is a step in the right direction.

Below is a chart posted at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website showing the unemployment rate for October.

The fact that the unemployment rate remained steady as the labor participation rate increased is good news for Americans. It means that there is continued growth in the job market.

Today The Wall Street Journal posted more good economic news:

Strong hiring and low unemployment are delivering U.S. workers their best pay raises in nearly a decade.

Employers shook off a September slowdown to add 250,000 jobs to their payrolls in October, above monthly averages in recent years, the Labor Department said Friday. With unemployment holding at 3.7%, a 49-year low, and employers competing for scarce workers, wages increased 3.1% from a year earlier, the biggest year-over-year gain for average hourly earnings since 2009.

…The share of Americans in their prime working years, between 25 and 54, who are working or looking for work rose to the highest rate since 2010 last month, at 82.3%.

President Trump touted the figures in a tweet Friday, just days before midterm elections that will decide control of Congress. “Wages UP! These are incredible numbers,” Mr. Trump said.

Employers have added to their payrolls for a record 97 straight months.

This is the Trump economy. The Federal Reserve is beginning to raise interest levels to more normal levels, which may slow down the growth of the economy, but keeping interest rates at artificially low levels is not a good long-term strategy. We still have a need to control our spending and get the national debt under control, but strong economic growth and a lessening of the need for welfare programs should begin that process. There will be some adjustments along the way–low interest rates will no longer be keeping the stock market artificially high and rising interest rates may slow the housing market, but raising interest rates will also help bring us back to a more balanced economy.

If the Republicans hold Congress, the economic growth will continue. If the Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives, we will be in for a very bumpy economic ride.

Something That Is Happening Underneath The Noise

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about how the economy is doing under the Trump administration.

The article reports:

The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell to a new 49-year low for the third straight week, though Hurricane Florence’s effect on the jobs market remains unclear.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 201,000 in the week ended Sept. 15, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the lowest level since December 1969, and less than the 210,000 claims economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected.

The article includes the following chart:

The article concludes:

Jobless claims have remained low in recent years, as the labor market continues to tighten and managers face difficulty finding qualified employees. The unemployment rate has been hovering near an 18-year low in recent months.

The number of claims workers made for longer than a week declined by 55,000 to 1,645,000 in the week ended Sept. 8. The figure, also known as continuing claims, is reported with a one-week lag.

This growth is the result of deregulation, tax cuts, and the energy policy of the Trump administration. This growth will halt abruptly if the Democrats take control of Congress in November as they have already announced plans to reverse the policies put in place by the Trump administration that have resulted in the growth.

The Jobs Report Came Out Today

The jobs report came out today. The number I watch, and I am waiting to see change is the Workforce Participation Rate. That number is holding steady at 62.9. That is not a great number, but it is an okay number. That number reached 66 during some of early 2008, but has generally been in the 63 or 64 range most of the time since then. The other numbers on the report are really good.

CNS News is reporting the numbers today:

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says a record 155,965,000 people were employed in July, the 11th record-breaker since President Trump took office 19 months ago.

“Our economy is soaring. Our jobs are booming. Factories are pouring back into our country, they coming from all over the world. We are defending our workers,” President Trump told a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday.

BLS said the economy added 157,000 jobs in July (compared with a revised 248,000 in June).

The unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, as the number of employed people reached new heights, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 284,000 to 6,280,000 in July. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4 percent) and Whites (3.4 percent) declined in July. The jobless rates for adult women (3.7 percent), teenagers (13.1 percent), Blacks (6.6 percent), and Asians (3.1 percent), showed little or no change over the month. The unemployment rate for Hispanics hit a record low of 4.5 percent, down from last month’s record 4.6 percent.

There was also good news for wage-earners–in addition to the tax cut, hourly wages went up:

In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent.

This growth is the direct result of the policies of President Trump–the combination of deregulation, tax cuts, and domestic energy development has resulted in economic growth.