Archive for the ‘Unemployment’ Category

Now, government employees are walking in coal miners’ shoes …

January 30, 2017

“Retrain and relocate” sounds so reasonable … unless you’re the one needing to retrain & relocate.
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When the Obama administration declared war on coal, and Hillary famously declared “we’re going to put a lot of coal companies out of business and a lot of coal miners out of work” … most government employees whopped and hollered in delight.

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Their advice: Shake it off, coal miners.

Go back to school and get trained as a java programmer (even if that’s a quantum leap from your skills, education and interests … and as natural as learning to speak Swahili).

Move to thriving locales like Austin or Palo Alto (even if it means leaving 3 generations of family and friends behind).

Suck it up and turn the page, bro.

You’ve got to embrace change and adapt to the changing times (even if the change is artificially induced by government know-it-alls)

Well, it looks like the worm has turned …

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What are “prime age men” who aren’t in the labor force doing with their time ?

December 6, 2016

Yesterday, we looked at the falling labor force participation rate (LFPR) among so-called prime age males … aged 24 to 54 … a range that outboards most students and retirees.

About 10 million men fall into that category – unemployed but not looking for work.

One hypothesis is that the LFPR  among prime age males has dropped because – as women have entered the workforce – the men have stayed home to care for family members and do household chores.

According to the Fed’s latest American Time Use Survey, there’s some evidence to support that hypothesis.

In fact, “non-participating prime-age men” spend about 1/2 hour per day more on “household activities & services” than do prime age males who are in the labor force.

 

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But, that’s only a small  part of the story ….

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Nums: More folks saying: “Why work?”

April 8, 2015

It’s not new news that the Labor Force Participation Rate has been falling .

What struck me in March’s  employment stats was that the LFPR is still dropping

LFPR - March 2015

Many economists  say it’s simply demographics — it’s old folks retiring.

Partially true, but certainly not the whole story.

(more…)

Nums: 2 charts say a lot about the March employment numbers …

April 7, 2015

Last Friday, the President was spinning the 126,000 jobs gain as a continuation of the longest consecutive period of (meager) monthly jobs gains.

OK, I added the meager part …

And, he touted how he’d added 12 million jobs to the economy since he took office.

Not to nit-pick, but it’s 10 million since he took office … 12 million since the slide bottomed out.

 

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OK, so 2 million more people are working since the worst recession since the depression.

That’s pretty good, right?

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Nums: Do you see a pattern in the March employment report?

April 6, 2015

Last Friday, the BLS  reported that the U.S. economy added 126,000 jobs.

That’s about  half of the consensus forecast (which was about the prior 12 months average).

 

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Look at the chart and tell me if your see a pattern …

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Unemployment claims moving up … anybody notice?

March 6, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, the Administration and its friends were touting that  unemployment claims had dropped to historically low levels … proof positive that the pork-laden, 2009 Stimulus Spending Program worked … albeit 4 or 5 years after the program ended.

 

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There has been a lot less chest-pounding the past couple of weeks.  Wonder why?

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Behind the surge in jobs …

February 9, 2015

A lot of chatter over the weekend about how President Obama’s economic policies are – after 6 years — humming.

More than 250,000 more people were employed … but interestingly, the unemployment rate inched up as the labor force participation rate increased a bit.

What’s going on?

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A couple of economists at the NBER – the think tank that officially declares when recessions begin and end – just issued a study with an evidenced-based hypothesis …

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Gallup: 5.6% Unemployment is a Big Lie

February 5, 2015

I didn’t say it, Jim Clifton, Gallup’s CEO did.

Specifically, he says that he hears all the time that “unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren’t feeling it.”

The reason: “The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.” It doesn’t capture the true angst in the job market.

The crux of his argument centers on a “good jobs” metric: the ratio of full-time workers to the total adult population.

That ratio dropped about 5 percentage points during the recession and has recouped only about one of those 5 percentage points.

That’s not good.

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Clifton brings those numbers to life in his opinion piece …

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The state of the economy in one killer chart …

December 17, 2014

This isn’t it !

This one was in the WSJ last week.

The accompanying narrative was something like “adding jobs – full-time, not part-time —  looking good”.

Earlier this week, we showed that the WSJ data is accurate, but it’s analysis is misleading because it starts analyzing from the depth of the recession (versus before the start of the recession) … and looks at raw numbers of jobs added (without normalizing for population growth).

Again, this isn’t the killer chart, I’m talking about.

 

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Rather, I’ve pulled together my earlier analysis into one simple chart that tells the story …

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Folks are still discouraged about the economy … here’s why.

December 15, 2014

It has been a while since we looked into the employment numbers … long overdue.

I was awakened by a WSJ article that put a positive spin on the November jobs report – jobs continue to be added …. and, they’re full-time jobs:

“The economy has seen a net gain of more than 6 million full-time jobs since the official end date of the 2007-09 recession, which was in June 2009. The economy has witnessed a net increase of just 311,000 part-time jobs over the same period,”

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Hmmm.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

What the Journal says is true, but not complete … and picking to start the chart at the trough of the recession obscures some of the context.

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Let’s celebrate the economy … err, let’s wait.

October 6, 2014

Lots of end-zone dancing last week re: the economy.

The President says that all indicators are good, and that folks who aren’t feelin’ it just “don’t get it” because they’re watching FoxNews too much.

Say, what?

Let’s look at the ultimate measure: household income.

Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped 8% during the recession … and has been flat after bottoming out a couple of years ago.

That means that the median real household income is still down 8% from the pre-recession peak.

Hard to get excited about that, right?

 

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The drop in median household income has come despite a steady increase in average hourly wages … they’re up about 10% since the official end of the recession.

That’s before inflation, but the Feds keep telling us that inflation is negligible, that shouldn’t matter, right?

 

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Let’s see, average wages are going up, but median household income is stalled at a depressed level.

What’s going on?

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Last week’s employment report in 4 charts …

July 7, 2014

Lots of hoopla last week that the unemployment employment rate dropped to 6.1% as employers added 288,000 jobs

Yep, 288k jobs added … which continues a year-over-year running rate growth in employment of slightly less than 2% …  a little less than real GDP year-over-year growth.

FRED Total Employment  June 2014

But, there’s more to the story.

Let’s dissect that 288,000 …

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All the jobs are back … please, hold your applause.

June 9, 2014

According to the Feds, the economy added 217,000 jobs in May … that’s good.

Big deal made of the fact that the economy has regained all of the jobs lost in the finance-induced recession.

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But, save the high fives …that’s only part of the story.

The rest of the story doesn’t look nearly as rosy.

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Liberated from work, 806K bolt from job market … UE rate drops.

May 5, 2014

The headline: unemployment rate drops to 6.3%

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Boom times in America, right?

Hmmm.

Here’s what has me scratching my head …

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Employers add 288K jobs … oh, really?

May 5, 2014

The headline: 288K jobs added.

Boom times in America, right?

Hmmm.

Here’s what has me scratching my head …

First, some technical background.

There are two  BLS surveys: the Establishment Survey which queries businesses and the Household Survey which queries individuals, i.e. people.

The Establishment Survey is a larger sample, but has a huge data whole – new and small businesses —  that gets plugged with a SWAG.

The Household Survey is smaller (about 10,000 respondents) … but big enough that it’s treated as the gold standard for calculating the unemployment rate.

It was the Establishment Survey that reported 288K jobs were added.

Guess what?

The Household Survey said the opposite … that 73K jobs were lost.

 

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Let’s take this a step further …

 

Earlier last weeks, the Feds reported that GDP was essentially flat in the first quarter …  only increasing  by 1/10th of a percentage point.

 

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Despite a flat economy, the BLS says that employers were adding jobs like drunken sailors.

Does that make sense to you?

My view: one of the two numbers has to be wrong … either the GDP or the employment numbers … and, given the job losses reported on the Household Survey … I’m betting the 288K job gain is more illusion than reality.

#HomaFiles

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WSJ: “Rot in the job numbers” … yeah, but a week late.

March 17, 2014

This morning, the WSJ published an editorial titled “The Hidden Rot in the Jobs Numbers ” by Prof. Edward  Lazear, who was chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-09, is a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Strong credentials, right?

The punch line: “Hours worked are declining, resulting in the equivalent of a net loss of 100,000 jobs since September.”

No kidding, Prof. Lazear?

Loyal HomaFiles readers are already aware of that … assuming that they read last Monday’s post: Smokin’: Employment growth exceeds expectations … oh, really?

Gotta crow a bit on this one … beat the WSJ by a week.

Here’s what we said last Monday:

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Smokin’: Employment growth exceeds expectations … oh, really?

The headlines are that 175,000 jobs were added in February.

Proof positive that the Obama economy is kicking in.

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Hate to rain on the parade, but ….

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Smokin’: Employment growth exceeds expectations … oh, really?

March 10, 2014

The headlines last Friday were that 175,000 jobs were added in February.

Proof positive that the Obama economy is kicking in.

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Hate to rain on the parade, but ….

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What happens when the minimum wage is raised?

February 19, 2014

President Obama is pushing to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

Interesting play

$10.10 … not $10.

Why?

To make folks think that he thought about it … that $10.10 is some kind of magical optimum.

Putting that silliness aside, the rationale is well-intended: get low-earners closer to a “living wage”

The major argument against the move is econ 101 … and empirical evidence.

The below chart – from AEI’s Mark Perry —  cuts to the chase.

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The chart plots the level of the Federal minimum wage against the number of percentage points that the teenage unemployment rate is over the all-inclusive unemployment rate.

Implicitly, the analysis assumes that the bulk of minimum wage jobs go to teens … and, measuring the differential (instead of the gross rate) normalizes to the overall state of the economy.

The conclusion is stark: when you raise the minimum wage you lose jobs.

Period.

But, some folks argue that economic life is better for the minimum wagers who retain their jobs.

Not so fast …

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More re: Labor Force Participation Rates

January 17, 2014

Earlier this week, I posted a chart showing that the LFPR among Blacks (the Fed’s data series description)

My observation was:

Black’s LFPR increased by about 7 percentage points since the mid-1970s (earliest that the data is reported) to 2000 – when it peaked at about 66% …. the rate has dropped to just over 60% …. the declining trend has steepened.

A loyal reader suggested that I put those numbers in context … and linked me to a chart that displays all of the Fed’s demographic categories.

His observation: the recent trend has been fairly consistent across all racial categories,

  • Key: Hispanic = purple; White = green; Black = orange

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Note that in the late 1990s,  LFPR’s were roughly equal for all groups

Since then, Hispanics have run above average LFPRs …

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Nums: Labor Force Participation Rate hits 30 year low …

January 13, 2014

One of the big headlines last Friday was that the Labor Force Participation rate continued to fall December (which is why the unemployment rate ticked down despite paltry job growth).

More specifically, the LFPR is down more that 4 percentage points since the financial crisis hit.

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Let’s put the current LFPR is perspective: Now, about 62.5% of the able-bodied adult population either has a job or is actively looking for one.

Said differently, over 37% don’t have jobs and aren’t actively looking.

Let’s drill down to a couple of demographic groups ….

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Nums: Unemployment rate drops again … oh, really?

November 1, 2013

Feds say that “economy continues to recover … as indicated in the drop in the unemployment rate to 7.2%”.

Hmmm.

Great chart from Wall Street Daily:

 

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Conclusion: Apparent improvements in the unemployment rate continue to be mostly a reflection of a declining labor force participation rate … more and more folks dropping out of the labor force and staying home.

Frustrated by dim jobs’ prospects or satisfied with the government safety net programs .. or both?

Draw you own conclusion.

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Nums: The jobs report in 4 charts

October 25, 2013

The bruhaha re: the ObamaCare systems implosion overshadowed the belated September jobs report.

To get you up to date …

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Nonfarm employment increased by 148,000 in September … analysts were expecting 180,000 … which is about the average for the past 12 months.

 

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Importantly, jobs are being added disproportionately in services (think hotels & fast-food places) … not in manufacturing.

 

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And, there’s more to the story …

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Jobs: The story in 3 charts …

September 9, 2013

The Feds reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3% … despite tepid job growth – fewer jobs added than expected, and those that were added were in retail & hospitality.

Most analysts quickly pointed out that the unemployment rate dropped because the number of people dropping out of the labor force was about twice the number of jobs added.

In technical jargon, the labor force participation rate dropped to a 35 year low.

 

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A complementary metric that combines the effect of the Unemployment Rate and the Labor Force Participation Rate is the Civilian Employment to Population Ratio – the percentage of the working age population that has a job.

That rate dropped about 4 percentage points during the recession … then has flatlined during the “recovery”.

That is, job growth has barely kept up with population growth.

 

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What about my favorite?  The downmixing to more part time positions?

 

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Nums: Gallup says unemployment surging …

August 22, 2013

You may remember that the BLS reported tha, for July,  the unemployment rate continued its decline … all the way down to 7.4%.

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Good news. right.

Not so fast …

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Jobs: More on the part-timer trend …

August 12, 2013

Couple of charts – and conflicting interpretations — caught my eye.

First, Wall Street Daily posted their version of an analysis revealing that over 3-in-4 jobs created in 2013 have been part-time jobs.

Their conclusion: “it’s the scariest chart ever”.

Maybe a bit of hyperbole, but certainly worth watching

 

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Here’s another take on the trend …

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Nums: Cutting to the chase on the jobs numbers …

August 5, 2013

We’ve been frequently posting about the way employment is “down-mixing” from full-time to part-time jobs.

I personally think that the mix change is one of the most important trends in the economy.

Finally, the trend has become so significant that even the mass media has started reporting on it..

Last Friday … the BLS headline was “Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in July, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.4 percent.”

High fives, right?

Not so fast.

Yep, total private employment went up 114.186 million … an increase of 162,000 jobs  … that’s true.

 

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And, though the job growth was below expectations and below the number usually cited as being required to keep the unemployment rate constant … the increasingly flakey unemployment rate dropped to 7.4%

That’s good news, too … right?

Not so fast.

Here’s the HomaFiles Employment Index … the way to cut to the chase on the employment numbers …

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Not to worry about part-time jobs … say, what?

July 25, 2013

MarketWatch had a piece scolding folks who are saying that we’re becoming a part-time economy.

The essence of their argument:

1) Employment data is noisy and June was a blip

2) Since the bottom of the recession, FT jobs have been increasing fater than part-time jobs

 

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Hmmm.

Let’s dig a little deeper …

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Why the Fed’s QE isn’t booming the economy …

July 24, 2013

Two related articles caught my eye …

First, the Washington Post editorialized that:

The only part of the Obama economy that has flourished  is Wall Street.

Only the trickle-down from the wealthy financial players, who have thrived off the conveyor belt of money as it travels from Washington to Wall Street, has had much of a positive effect on the economy as a whole.

Let’s break down the economic fundamentals.

First, a chart showing the “conveyor belt of money” …

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Note that the M1 money supply increased from about $1..4 trillion in 2009 to today’s $2.6 trillion.

Shouldn’t a cool $1.2 trillion more in supply of money get the economy cranking into overdrive?

Here’s the rest of the story …

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Why are 74% of small businesses planning to cut hours and fire workers?

July 19, 2013

According to a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ,,,

The answer has little to do with the Fed’s threat to tighten monetary policy.

Though 77% continue to think the U.S. economy is on the wrong track, most small businesses are optimistic about their local economy and individual business.

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So, what’s up?

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Nums: The labor market in 3 charts …

July 8, 2013

There were high fives last Friday when the BLS reported a level unemployment rate and – based on the employer survey– 195,000 new jobs.

The numbers from the household survey were less rosy … a gain of 120k jobs.

Still, positive job growth.

Here’s the rub …

The new jobs (and more) were part-time jobs … up 360k on the population survey.

In fact, full-time jobs declined in June by 240k jobs.

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Let’s put those numbers in a historical context …

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Nums: How high is your state’s unemployment rate …

June 24, 2013

Interesting chart from Calculated Risk … plotting the unemployment rat – by state – from high to low.

Here’s the chart … below are some highlights.

 

 

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Highlights:

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Nums: Gallup says unemployment rate to go up …

June 7, 2013

The BLS numbers get reported at 8:30 this morning.

I always reference Gallup as an indicator.

For May, Gallup’s seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate was 8.2%up .4% from 7.8% in April.

 

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My bet: weak jobs growth ( probably 125,000) … but BLS will find a way to keep the official unemployment rate constant at 7.5%

 

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Nums: The most worrisome employment number …

June 6, 2013

Interesting chart in today’s WSJ … I’ve added a few highlights.

Basic point raised in the article: The reported drop in the unemployment rate is masking a more fundamental weakness in the job market.

As we’ve harped before, the employment to population ratio is down about 5 pp from the pre-crisis long-term average … and despite a decline in the unemployment rate, the employment to population ratio has stayed flat over the past couple of years.

The culprits keeping the employment to population ratio low:

  • bona fide unemployment – too few jobs
  • demographics -old folks retiring
  • social programs – extended unemployment
  • faux disability enrollments

Our prior analyses allocate about 1/3 of the drop to demographics, about 1/2 to lack of jobs and the rest to social programs and disability bumps.

 

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Note from the employment to population chart …

1) The 20 year pre-crisis trend …. hovered around 63%.

2) The steady increase during the 1980’s … you know, the Reagan years … more growth, fewer handouts.

3) The similarity in the levels during the Carter and Obama years … coincidence?

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Nums: The impact of demographics on the LFPR …

June 6, 2013

Business Insider reports that …

Bank of America economist Michelle Mayer has put out a note on one of the more controversial subjects in economics these days: the Labor Force Participation Rate.

The Unemployment Rate has been grinding down, but everyone has noticed that Labor Force Participation has dropped as well, and it’s been argued that the exodus of people from the workforce (who no longer count as unemployed when they’re not working) undermine the idea of workforce improvement.

BI – repping for Team O — takes delight observing that: “Mayer’s note comes down firmly on the side of saying that the decline in Labor Force Participation is largely secular, and not primarily about the economic malaise.

 

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Hold your pants on, BI.

Here’s how & why Mayer’s analysis overstates the secular impact and understates the economic impact.

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Nums: THE way to look at the employment numbers …

May 10, 2013

In a  couple of the past week’s posts we’ve been exploring the employment down mixing from full-time to part-time jobs.

I personally think that it is one of the most important – and least reported trends in the economy.

Flashback to last Friday … the BLS headline was that 165,000 jobs were added in April and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.5%

That news flash elicited giddy re-reporting … e.g. Business Insider’s “STOCKS GO WILD AFTER AWESOME JOBS REPORT” … “awesome” and all caps,

Yep, total employment went up 165,000 jobs … that’s true

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But, here’s the rest of the story …

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Nums: More on the rise of part-time work …

May 10, 2013

Yesterday we posted “Connecting the dots: ObamaCare may be creating jobs!”

The punch line: many companies are reported to be down mixing their work forces by reducing full-timers to part-time status … and hiring additional part-timers to fill their needs.

Today, let’s look at some macro numbers.

Total employment dropped 8.2 million during the recession.

5.3 million of those 8.2 million jobs have been recovered … but total employment is still down 2.9 million from its pre-recession peak.

Note that total employment is up 1.4 million since President Obama’s Inauguration in January 2009.

Keep that number in mind … 1.4 million.

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Things get more interesting with a little drilling down …

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Jobs: A generation lost ?

May 9, 2013

Editorial in the WSJ today titled Meet Generation Jobbed

Punch line: With youth unemployment and underemployment at persistently high levels, “our kids are starting to look and sound like Europe’s smart kids—despondent and resigned.”

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Here are the facts underlying the conclusion …

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Part-timing it: Retailers adding employees … and cutting hours.

May 8, 2013

According to IBD

Retailers – prepping for the ObamaCare mandates — are cutting workers’ hours and reclassifying them as part-timers.

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Here’s the data

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Connecting the dots: ObamaCare may be creating jobs!

May 6, 2013

You read that right.

The obvious has become evident to me …

The BLS reported that employment rose by 165,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.5 percent,

Hmmm.

Memory jogged back to last week’s post re: the increasing number of part-timers:

Obvious question: how many of the 165,000 were part-timers?

According to the Fed’s data base, part-time employment increased by 229,000.

If true, that means that full-time employment dropped.

Hmmm again.

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What’s going on?

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Nums: The April jobs report … Sequester creates jobs?

May 3, 2013

Here’s the headline: “Non-Farm Payrolls Rise More Than Expected, Up by 165,000 in April; Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.5%”.

I guess that the Sequester – rather than inhibiting job growth – actually spurred job growth.

Not really.

But, it means team Obama will have to re-write its press release for today.

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Reminder: April ADP’s number was  159k … 30k below the consensus forecast … and, ADP revised March down by about 20k jobs..

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Nums: More about the declining LFPR … blame teens, not old folks.

April 30, 2013

Remember March’s employment numbers?

Despite paltry job growth – less than population growth — the unemployment rate went down – because about 500,000 folks dropped out of the labor force.

The LFPR (labor force participation rate) dropped to 63.2%.

The Atlantic published an interesting recap of LFPRs by age group over time.

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Note that the LFPR has been   …

  • Increasing for all age groups over 35
  • Holding steady at about 80% for folks 35 to 34
  • Dropping for folks 20 to 24.
  • Dropping big-time for teenagers

While older folks are participating more in the labor force, their LFPR is substantially less than other age groups (except teens) … so the aging population is “mixing down the overall LFPR.

What’s up with teens?

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Nums: Do big companies or small companies create more jobs?”

April 18, 2013

Bit of a trick question since the constant refrain is that small companies are the ones that generate job growth.

According to a Business Week analysis of ADP National Employment data …

Since the U.S. economic recovery began in june 2009, big employers have increased employment 7.5%, while small employers have boosted payrolls only 4.9%.

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Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, was on the McCain team in 2008 but has changed sides and now regularly advocates for the Administration of TV.

He says: that there are three explanations for why large employers (1,000 employees and up) grew faster than small ones (fewer than 50 workers).

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Nums: Still, blaming the declining LFPR on seniors retiring …

April 17, 2013

Former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee was back on TV saying that more than 60% of the decline in the labor force participation rate (LFPR)  is simple demographics … old people retiring.

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Last week, I posted a back of the envelop analysis that said  seniors retiring is less than 1/3 of the blame.

Today, let’s do the analysis more rigorously, using a technique that I teach called PVA – Profit Variance Analysis ….

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Nums: More re: labor force participation rates …

April 9, 2013

Since las t Friday’s jobs report and the flood of misdirection coming out of Washington, I’ve been trolling the BLS numbers.

Here are a couple that caught my eye …

Since 1950, the labor force participation rate (LFPR) among adult males has fallen from almost 90% to below 70% today.

Wow.  Almost 1 of 5 men have opted out.

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During the same period – 1950 to today – adult women’s LFPR has increased from about 33% to about 60%.

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Best hypotheses I can conjure are that

(1) working women  has freed some men to stay-at-me to either be Mr. Mom ,,, or just slack off

(2) more capable women have squeezed men out of jobs?

Any alternative explanations out there?

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Nums: Labor Force Participation Rate is down b/c old folks are retiring … well, not exactly!

April 8, 2013

Here’s some stuff that you won’t see other places …

OK, everybody knows that – despite paltry job growth — the unemployment rate dropped from 7.7% to 7.6%.

Why?

Because about 500,000 people dropped out of the labor force.

The “Labor Force Participation Rate” dropped to 63.2%

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Note that in the past couple of years the labor force participation rate has dropped about 3 percentage points … from over 66% to 63.2%

So, why is the Labor Force Participation Rate dropping?

Dr. Alan Krueger — Chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers – asserted on CNBC that the decline in the labor force participation rate is simply demographics.

Old people are an increasing part of the population and they are retiring.

Hmmm.

Nobody challenged him because it’s obviously true, right?

Not so fast.

Now, here are the nums that you probably won’t see any place else ….

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Nums: UE rate down to 7.6% … thanks to quitters.

April 5, 2013

The reported unemployment rate dropped to 7.6% despite a meager 88,000 jobs being added in March.

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It’s conventional wisdom that you need more than 200,000 jobs added to move the needle.

So, why did the UE rate go down.

You guessed it: the Labor Force Participation Rate dipped again … more people (about 500,000) stopped looking for jobs … and weren’t counted in the unemployment numbers.

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The administration shills have been harping on the Sequester to explain the numbers (even though it didn’t really kick in during March).

They dismiss the idea that the slowdown could be due to:

  1. Increased taxes … especially the payroll tax
  2. ObamaCare
  3. An anti-biz administration

Nope, just not enough government spending.

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Nums: Unemployment rate on the rise again?

April 4, 2013

Last month, the BLS reported a decline in the unemployment rate to 7.7%.

Most economists and other pundits are predicting that the March  UE rate – which will be reported tomorrow – will remain at that level.

But, yesterday’s ADP employment numbers were almost 20% below the consensus estimates … 185k vs. 225k.

Today, the BLS reported: “In the week ending March 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 385,000, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 357,000. The 4-week moving average was 354,250, an increase of 11,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 343,000.”

Here’s another contra indicator … the Gallup Daily Tracking of Employment.

When the daily numbers for the past 3 months are averaged, there’s a big spike upward from February to March.

Gallup is again pegging the unemployment rate over 8%.

Bottom line: If the consensus 7.7% is the over-under …. I’m betting the over, for sure.

image

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Charts: The employment picture ….

March 15, 2013

There was Administrative euphoria last week when the employment numbers were released … almost 200,000 jobs added.

In the words of former Obama economic guru Austan Goolsbee: “Whoo-hoo”

image

Yep. positive sign.

But, let’s look a little deeper … a couple of charts I haven’t seen other places.

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Gallup: Unemployment rate trending up, over 8%.

March 7, 2013

Seems like many folks have lost interest, but tomorrow, the official BLS employment numbers come out.

Initial unemployment claims are still hovering around 350,000 per week … suggesting that the employment picture is staying pretty stable.

As a cross-check to the government numbers, I like to compare them with Gallup’s daily tracking poll.

Hmmm.

Since mid-February , Gallup’s measured unemployment rate has been rising and, in the past week or so, has broken back up above 8%

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Wonder what the BLS will report tomorrow.

I’m betting the under …

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Chart: What happens when the minimum wage is raised?

February 20, 2013

President Obama is pushing to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour.

The rationale is well-intended: get low-earners closer to a “living wage”

The major argument against the move is econ 101 … and empirical evidence.

The below chart – from AEI’s Mark Perry —  cuts to the chase.

image

The chart plots the level of the Federal minimum wage against the number of percentage points that the teenage unemployment rate is over the all-inclusive unemployment rate.

Implicitly, the analysis assumes that the bulk of minimum wage jobs go to teens … and, measuring the differential (instead of the gross rate) normalizes to the overall state of the economy.

The conclusion is stark: when you raise the minimum wage you lose jobs.

Period.

But, some folks argue that economic life is better for the minimum wagers who retain their jobs.

Not so fast …

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