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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