The Trump Economy Keeps Rolling Along

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about the latest unemployment numbers. There is lots of good news.

The article reports:

The U.S. labor market was firing on all cylinders in May: the unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low, employers added jobs at a faster pace and wages modestly improved.

The unemployment rate ticked down to a seasonally adjusted 3.8%, matching April 2000 as the lowest reading since 1969, the Labor Department said Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 223,000 in May, a jump from gains from March and April. Average hourly earnings ticked up to a 2.7% from a year earlier—and raises were even stronger for nonmanagers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the workforce participation rate is at 62.7. That number has fluctuated very little since January 2016. It should increase as the economy further improves.

The article further reports:

A broad measure of unemployment and underemployment that includes Americans stuck in part-time jobs or too discouraged to look for work fell to 7.6% from 7.8% the prior month. That rate, known as the U-6, remains somewhat elevated compared with the last time unemployment was similarly low. In April 2000, the broader measure was 6.9%.

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump understands what was needed to grow the American economy. I am grateful that he is helping all of us to prosper.

The article also reports:

The unemployment rate for women, 3.6% last month, was the lowest since 1953, when far smaller share of women sought jobs. The jobless rates for blacks, Latinos and those without high-school diplomas are trending near record lows.

It is amazing what has happened to the economy in the last eighteen months. I suspect that not everyone is cheering.

 

 

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.

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 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.

Don’t Be Fooled By The Low Unemployment Rate

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

The article notes the following:

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

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

CNS News has a more balanced report:

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

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

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

The Law Of Unintended Consequences Strikes Again

The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial today entitled, “ObamaCare and the ’29ers.'” When I first looked at the title, I thought it was about the unemployment rate of the twenty-something generation. It’s not. It’s about how ObamaCare is affecting the number of hours employers allow their employees to work.

The article reports:

The law (ObamaCare) requires firms with 50 or more “full-time equivalent workers” to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says “equivalent” because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don’t offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well.

Is Washington capable of making anything simple?

The article explains how the mathematics of employing people under ObamaCare work:

The savings from restricting hours worked can be enormous. If a company with 50 employees hires a new worker for $12 an hour for 29 hours a week, there is no health insurance requirement. But suppose that worker moves to 30 hours a week. This triggers the $2,000 federal penalty. So to get 50 more hours of work a year from that employee, the extra cost to the employer rises to about $52 an hour—the $12 salary and the ObamaCare tax of what works out to be $40 an hour.

This chart from the article shows the number of people currently working part-time:

image

It’s time to repeal ObamaCare, replace it with something that has actually been thought through, and get the American economy working again.

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Between The Lines On The Jobs Numbers

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the latest jobs report. The article points out that the dip in the unemployment rate was the result of over a half-million people dropping out of the workforce.

The article also points out:

Over the last five months, 73% of all jobs created were government jobs. Moreover, the unemployment rate for government workers plunged to 3.8% in November — which is considered full employment.

Logically, when the civilian workforce is smaller, fewer people are paying taxes, and the money to fund the government shrinks.

The article reminds us:

Even though deficits rule the day at every level of government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 847,000 new jobs created since June, a full 621,000 were government jobs. In November alone, 35,000 new government jobs were created.

In other words, as the labor participation rate plummets to a thirty year low — which means we have fewer taxpayers — we’re not only increasing the number of taxpayer-funded jobs, but the government is using the creation of these jobs to juice the employment numbers in a way that makes it look as though the job situation is actually improving.

I would be very surprised to see any of these numbers reported in the mainstream media.

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