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.

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.

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.

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.