FEB Jobs# out Fri Mar 6. JAN: +257,000 jobs; Unemp rate up slightly 5.7%. HERE! Jobs since Obama took office? HERE Unemp rate under Obama? HERE

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jobs Created Lost January 2015

February 2015 Highlights and Jobs Reports Will be Released Friday morning, March 6th. January 2015:  +257,000 jobs; Unemployment rate up slightly to 5.7%.  Details HERE.

How Many Jobs Created (Gained) or Lost by U. S. firms or companies in January 2015?

  • 257,000 TOTAL payroll jobs were ADDED or CREATED in seasonally adjusted numbers.
  • 267,000 PRIVATE payroll sector jobs were ADDED or CREATED in seasonally adjusted numbers.
  • 10,000 GOVERNMENT (federal, state, and local) jobs were LOST in January. 
  • 759,000 MORE people employed.
  • 777,000 FEWER people employed full-time. 
  • 40,000 MORE people employed part-time.
  • 20,000 FEWER people employed part-time involuntarily.  (In other words, people who want full-time work but can only find part-time work.)
  • 1,051,000 MORE people in the civilian labor force (people either working or looking for work).
  • 291,000 MORE people unemployed.
  • Unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.7% primarily due to an increase in the number of people who entered the labor force and started to look for work.

To Summarize:  

In summary, there are many many more payroll jobs and more people employed.  Almost all of the newly employed people are working full-time vs. part-time.  

The unemployment rate increased slightly due to the number of people entering the labor force.  As usual, the numbers in any one month need to be taken with a grain of salt, as any movements in any one month are not necessarily trends.  However, we have now had 59 consecutive months of private sector job creation, a record as long as such numbers have been kept.  


Monday, February 9, 2015

What Was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office (compared to now)? January 2015 update

February 2015 Highlights and Jobs Reports Will be Released Friday morning, March 6th. January 2015:  +257,000 jobs; Unemployment rate up slightly to 5.7%.  Details HERE.


What was the unemployment rate when Bush left office and Obama was inaugurated and took office? What was the unemployment rate when Obama came into office?  
7.8% 

(Unemployment rate then and now on the graph below.)

What was the unemployment rate after Obama's first full month in office (February 2009)? 
 8.3%

What was the unemployment rate at peak?  10.0%


What is the unemployment rate now?  Today's unemployment rate (January 2015's)?   5.7%  


All Latest Jobs and Unemployment Reports HERE

How many people were looking for work when Obama was inaugurated; how many were working?  And how many people are looking for work and how many are employed now?

Please read below the graph.


The following chart shows the unemployment rate in three month intervals plus the last three months:











Why are there two lines, one for "Seas Adjusted" and one for "Unadjusted" in the chart above?  
This is explained at the bottom of the article.
  • What Caused the Rise in Unemployment When Obama Took Office?  Obama caused the unemployment rate to rise?  (Continue reading; the answer  is below the fold.)
  •  What Was the Unemployment Rate When Bush Took Office?  How high did it rise?  (The answer is also below the fold.)  


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Bush Tax Cuts End.. Job Growth Starts?

I love this graph from the New York Times.. It shows payroll jobs growth for a rolling year-over-year from 2011 until 2015.

Original found HERE








You may recall that the Bush tax cuts were sunset in early 2013 for the richest people and families, those people and families making $400,000+... and some new ACA (Affordable Care Act) taxes kicked in for higher earners at the same time.

Of course, the right complained and complained that these increased taxes would cost jobs and prosperity; you know, the whole "Rich people are the job creators" bit.  But it looks as though the righties were wrong... again!  Job growth has really taken a jump over the past 18 months to two years.

Hmmm... Maybe this trickle down stuff really doesn't work?
(An Oldie but a Goodie: More about those "job creators" HERE.)

Friday, February 6, 2015

How Many Jobs Created or Lost Under Obama? (January 2015 update)

February 2015 Highlights and Jobs Reports Will be Released Friday morning, March 6th. January 2015:  +257,000 jobs; Unemployment rate up slightly to 5.7%.  Details HERE.

How many NET jobs created or lost under Obama* as of January 2015? How many private sector jobs have been lost or added during Obama's presidency?


How many new jobs in the last 6 years since Obama was inaugurated?  How many Americans were working or employed when Obama took office... compared to now?

Numbers for January with latest revisions:



Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
  • 11,200,000 MORE payroll jobs in total
  • 11,785,000 MORE private sector jobs
  • 10,188,000 MORE people working (includes self-employed and agricultural workers)
How many workers were full-time or part-time at the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 compared to now?

  • 10,152,000 MORE people working full-time.
  • 67,000 MORE people working part-time.  
  • (Yes, despite what you may have heard, from the depth of the recession until now, we have many more additional people working full-time vs. part-time jobs. When a recession hits, companies generally cut back on full-time workers first.  When companies start hiring again, the number of full-time workers increases.)

Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
  • 6,872,000 MORE jobs in total
  • 7,560,000 MORE private sector jobs
  • 6,049,000 MORE people working

How many workers were full-time or part-time when Obama was inaugurated compared to now?

  • 4,893,000 MORE people working full-time
  • 1,169,000 MORE people working part-time




Have any private jobs been lost (net) over the past 59 months since February 2010?


NO!
  • 59 months of consecutive private-sector job growth.
  • The longest consecutive period of private-sector job increases since this number has been recorded. 

Have any jobs been lost (net) over the past 52 months since September 2010?

NO!
  • 52 months of consecutive overall job growth.

Are more people unemployed now than when Obama took office in January 2009?  

NO!
  • Despite 2,970,000 MORE people in the labor force (either working or actively looking for work) now vs. January 2009, there are 3,079,000 FEWER people unemployed now than in January 2009. 






*What's the difference between "net" and "gross" jobs gained and lost?


Let's get something straight:  Jobs are lost every week and every month. People are fired, people are laid off, businesses or locations are closed and everybody is let go. 
 

Also people quit every week.  You yourself, dear reader,  may have quit a job at some point in time. 


But people are also HIRED every week and every month.  New businesses open, businesses expand, businesses replace people who have left or been fired.  Every week.  You yourself, dear reader, may have been hired for a job at some point in time.This happens in good times and bad. 

Yes, even in bad times, people are getting hired.  Even in good times, people are let go.  

Now:  The monthly jobs reportupon which this article is based, presents estimates based on surveys as to how many jobs are gained or lost in a given month.  Those numbers are based on the number of new jobs (people getting hired, businesses opening) MINUS the number of jobs that have been cut (people getting fired, people quitting, businesses closing or cutting back).



The monthly jobs report therefore reports NET job growth or loss.  


For 51 months in this country, we have had MORE jobs being added than we have had jobs being cut.  For 58 months in the private sector (not counting federal workers, state or local workers such as teachers, firemen, cops, or people who staff the DMV, only counting people who work for private businesses), we have had MORE jobs added than we have had jobs being cut.

To reiterate:  How many jobs have been created in the last 5 years versus how many jobs have been lost?
All numbers provided on monthly jobs reports, which is what the series on jobs created/lost under Obama is based, are NET jobs numbers.  In other words, they reflect gains after all job losses are subtracted, or they reflect job losses after all gains are added. 
For the past 59 months (as of January 2015), we have had NET gains in private jobs numbers every month.  In other words, in every month since February 2010, more private jobs have been created than have been lost.  In every month since September 2010, more jobs in total have been created than have been lost.  This is the longest consecutive period of job growth since these numbers have been recorded.
Fact check and important information on these jobs numbers...

The above jobs numbers are from the BLS jobs report of January 2015, which was released in early February 2015.  The surveys used to gather these numbers in August are taken as of the week which includes the 12th day of the month, in this case, January 12, 2015. 

January 2015 Unemployment Rate, Jobs Numbers and Reports

February 2015 Highlights and Jobs Reports Will be Released Friday morning, March 6th. January 2015:  +257,000 jobs; Unemployment rate up slightly to 5.7%. 


January 2015 Highlights (Specific reports listed below):
  • +257,000 new payroll jobs; +267,000 new private sector jobs.  These large increases are higher than the concensus of the "pundits".
  • Whoa!  The BLS increased its December and January numbers quite a bit:  " The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +353,000 to +423,000, and the change for December was revised from +252,000 to +329,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December were 147,000 higher than previously reported.  Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses since the last published estimates and  the monthly recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process also contributed to these revisions." Those are really big revisions.
  • Unemployment rate increased slightly by  .1% (one tenth of a percent) to 5.7%.  This increase was largely due to statistical revisions in the numbers of people in the population.  The number of people employed, unemployed, in the labor force, and in the civilian population all increased as the BLS discovered that the civilian population increased by about 700,000 more than previously estimated.
  • Alternate unemployment rate increased slightly to 11.3% (from 11.2%).  Again, this increase was mostly due to annual population adjustments.
  • Labor force participation rate increased .2%.  The estimate of the number of people in the labor force increased by a whopping 1,051,000 due largely to population adjustments.  (This means that the number of people in the labor force had been underestimated for most of 2014.)  The reported number of people employed increased by 759,000, the reported number of people unemployed increased by 291,000.
  • Number of people working full-time increased by about 777,000 while number of people working part-time increased by about 40,000.  That's 3,061,000 MORE people working full-time over the past year, since January 2014, and 13,000 FEWER people working part-time over the past year. 
  • The number of involuntary part-time workers (people working part-time because they couldn't find full-time work) increased by 20,000 in January and dropped 464,000 over the past year, since January 2014.
  • The number of long-term unemployed (people looking for work over half a year) increased by 15,000 in January, but has dropped 828,000 over the past year, since January 2014.

Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
  • 11.2 million MORE jobs in total
  • 11.8 million MORE private sector jobs
  • 10.2 million MORE people working
  • 10.2 million MORE people working full-time.
  • 67,000 MORE people working part-time.  
  • (Yes, despite what you may have heard, from the depth of the recession until now, we have many more additional people working full-time vs. part-time jobs. When a recession hits, companies generally cut back on full-time workers first.  When companies start hiring again, the number of full-time workers increases.)
Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
  • 6.9 million MORE jobs in total
  • 7.6 million MORE private sector jobs
  • 6.0 million MORE people working
  • 4.9 million MORE people working full-time
  • 1.2 million MORE people working part-time


January 2015 reports: (Notation on the links will be changed to "UPDATED for JANUARY" when the updated reports become available.) 


Preview (written Thursday night):

"The pundits" expect about 230,000 more jobs (with a range of 215,000 to 268,000) when the BLS counts are released, with the unemployment rate remaining stable at 5.6%.  If there are many more jobs but the unemployment rate stays the same, this would be a good indication that more people have entered the labor force in January.
  • As I mentioned last month, census numbers show that we have finally turned the corner on inflation-adjusted median household income and it is slowly starting to increase.
  • Inflation-adjusted weekly and hourly wages for production and non-supervisory employees (which excludes most of the high income people) continue to creep up. These wages have been higher during the Obama years than during any six year period since the mid 1970's.
  • The ADP private payroller report came out yesterday which estimated an additional 213,000 private sector jobs in January, which was was lower than expected and lower than what is expected for the BLS numbers tomorrow.  But this does mean, according to ADP's estimates, that the US has added over 200,000 private sector jobs 9 out of the last 10 months.
  • The ISM (Institute of Supply Management) job indices predict a much lower rate of job growth, with no increase in the number of manufacturing jobs and an increase of only 115,000 non-manufacturing payroll jobs.
  • Bloomberg believes that "employers probably added more than 230,000 jobs in January after a 252,000 gain in December, while the unemployment rate held at 5.6 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey as of Jan. 29. The U.S. job market is coming off of its best annual growth in 15 years, with about 3 million Americans finding work in 2014. The report will help guide the Federal Reserve’s deliberations over when to start raising interest rates. The Labor Department reports at 08:30 in Washington." 
  • The Consumer Sentiment index for January compiled by the University of Michigan  increased to 98.1 from the December reading of 93.6. This was the highest level in over ten years, since 2004.  Many feel that this high level of consumer confidence reflects lower gasoline prices.  
  • "The Rasmussen Employment Index  which measures worker confidence slipped a point in January after two months in a row of six-year highs.  At 103.3, worker confidence is down a point from December's 104.2."
  • Job search engine Linkup.com was the contrarian last month, projecting a net gain of only 170,000 job in December.  (They base their projections largely on job openings.)  They were off by about 80,000 jobs.  This month they are a bit more bullish, and more in line with other predictors:
  • "Unfortunately, however, we saw a decline in the number of job openings on LinkUp’s job search engine in November (-12.7%) and December (-2.4%). As a result of those declines, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a downward revision for November and December in tomorrow’s jobs report. And regardless of whether or not that occurs, because of the decline in job openings that we saw in December, we are forecasting a net gain of only 212,000 jobs in January, a weaker number than consensus."  But Linkup.com is projecting a VERY bullish 362,000 new jobs in February.. but we're not there yet, and this cold, snowy first week of February may hold down hiring overall for the month".
  • Linkup.com however does make the following observation:  "In 2014, the U.S. economy added an average of 242,000 jobs each month, a 25% increase over the 194,000 monthly average in 2013." 
  • The last few weeks have had very low numbers of initial unemployment claims, however, there were higher numbers of initial unemployment claims in the early weeks of January.  Hard to say if this will mean anything in terms of job growth in January, as seasonal adjustment factors in the numbers of unemployment claims after the Christmas holiday tend to be volatile.  As a whole, 2014 is on tap to have the lowest number of initial unemployment claims AND layoffs since the late 1990's.  Time will tell if this trend continues in January.
We can only imagine where we'd be in this economic recovery by now if the Republicans actually worked with Obama and the Democrats for the good of the country.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Debunking Gallup's "Big Lie": 5.6% Unemployment Rate

February 2015 Highlights and Jobs Reports Will be Released Friday morning, March 6th. January 2015:  +257,000 jobs; Unemployment rate up slightly to 5.7%.  Details HERE.


5.6%.  It's a lie!


So reads the headline at an article found at the Gallup website written by the Gallup CEO, Jim Clifton.  Clifton claims that the current 5.6% unemployment rate is "extremely misleading".  Every time the unemployment rate goes down, people jump on the "misleading" bandwagon, though I haven't seen a report on this from the Gallup CEO before.  I can imagine that we will see him on the rightie talk radio and Fox News circuit pretty soon.

Let's pull apart Clifton's article one paragraph at a time:  


If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed.

You aren't counted if you don't look for work.

That's right.  The BLS has NEVER counted such people as unemployed.  But what the Gallup CEO doesn't tell us is WHY the BLS doesn't count those people as unemployed:  Because you can't get a job if you aren't looking for work.   The jobs fairy is not going to sit on your head and anoint you with a job.  You need to be LOOKING FOR WORK to get a job.  

And the Gallup CEO doesn't mention that this is an INTERNATIONAL standard.  In every country that reports unemployment numbers (not just the US), people aren't considered as unemployed unless they are ACTIVELY looking for work.  Now let's say your stereotypically lazy but able middle-aged brother-in-law wants to live on your couch because he is "hopelessly unemployed".  You ask him when he last looked for work and he blubbers about and finally confesses that he hasn't looked for a job since 2011.  Come on, really.. How sympathetic will you be?  Perhaps before giving up your couch or your basement you will tell him that he really should start looking again as the job market has improved dramatically since 2011?        



Clifrton writes:  While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news -- currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren't throwing parties to toast "falling" unemployment.



I'm not going to get into the 30 million number here.  The Gallup CEO doesn't bother to tell us where he came up with that absurd number.  But by definition, you are not as "unemployed as you can possibly be" if you aren't looking for work.   

The unemployed keep looking.. They really do!

I will say that I've known a lot of people who have been out of work over the past seven years. Some of them have managed to age into retirement.  Some have gone back to school and started doing something else.  Many, many, many have been hired, and many of those initial temporary hires have turned into full-time jobs.  But do we really have millions of people sitting around for YEARS moaning that they can't get hired-- and they are SO discouraged that they haven't looked for a year or two or three?  "I really want a job, but I am SO discouraged that I haven't bothered to look for work for years." That just isn't happening.to people I know.  The people I know who have been most concerned about being unemployed KEEP looking.  The standard to being considered unemployed by the BLS is really not that high:  ONE effort to find work in terms of submitting a resume or application, or talking to a prospective employer a month.  At least ONE such effort a month.  That's it.  



Are there people who have stopped looking for work for a year or more?  Yes, but many of them aged into retirement or have a working spouse.

There is something called the BLS Flows report that, among many other things, will tell us how many people who were unemployed one month decided to stop looking the next month (the people who have "given up" looking for work).  I'll publish more about that later, but that number HAS been going down-- dramatically, and it is also lower than it has been since 2008.

Out-of-Work Engineers Mowing Lawns

Clifton writes:  There's another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this."  

The fact that such people are not counted among the unemployed is true, but it has ALWAYS been true.  And most such people will fall into the "involuntary part-time" bucket.. the numbers of which have been going down every month.  The percentage of working people considered "involuntary part-timers", which was about 3% in the mid 2000's, started climbing in 2007 and peaked at 6.7% in early 2010.  It's come down quite a bit and the percentage declines every month.  It is now 4.6%..  clearly better than it was, but we still have a ways to go in terms of providing full-time jobs for all of the people who want full-time jobs.  (The lowest this number has EVER been was about 2.3% in 2000.  Even in the 2000 boom year we had over two million people who wanted a full-time job but could only find part-time work.)

STEM Professionals Working at Burger King

"Yet another figure of importance that doesn't get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find -- in other words, you are severely underemployed -- the government doesn't count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this."  

Now, come on, Gallup CEO.. Do we really have people out there with degrees in math or chemistry that are working 10 hours part-time... and aren't in graduate school?  First of all, if this is true, it has always been true; the calculation has NOT changed recently.  Secondly, Gallup presents no evidence as to how many people with desired STEM degrees are working part-time at the local Burger King or some similar place.  And, if there are still hundreds of thousands of such chemists working at Burger King, is that number going down or going up?  He's just pandering to the know-nothings and I'm not sure why. 

Gallup's Employment Participation.. Sounds like a good measure... except....

"Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that provides a regular paycheck. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44%, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older. We need that to be 50% and a bare minimum of 10 million new, good jobs to replenish America's middle class."  

Hmm.. Well, maybe this is the "why" to the previous paragraph:  He wants people to jump on Gallup's standard as THE standard.  BUT:  There is one thing that the BLS data does that the Gallup data doesn't do:  Gallup makes no attempt to figure out who really WANTS a job.  That is why the official unemployment rate is based on people out there and looking, vs. people who are retired, disabled, at school, at home with kids.  (And the Gallup unemployment rate has remained remarkably consistent with the BLS' non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.  Not sure  why he doesn't mention that.)

Let's look at this staggeringly "low rate of 44%"  First of all, we have a staggeringly HIGH number of people who are retiring.  We have also had, over the past 15-20 years, a staggeringly HIGH number of people who are in school after they are 18.  The only way that this "employment participation" figure means anything is to look at people 25 to 54 years old (or, better yet), 29 to 49 years old, the VERY prime working age people, and determine what percentage of them have full-time jobs.  But you still have to figure what percentage of them WANT full-time jobs, and I'm not sure that data is available.

Then this "We need that 50%".. not sure where this is coming from, and does this mean that the Gallup CEO wants to force retirees back into the work force?  I doubt it, but the only way you can increase this number with a declining primary aged population and an increasing retiring age population might be to force older people (who really want and need to retire) back into the work force.  I really don't think that Gallup CEO wants that.. and would Gallup actually hire any of these former retirees?  I doubt it.  So talking about the "population 18 and over" is balderdash and nonsense.  Let's look ONLY at primary aged workers, which I do below.Now Gallup's standard for full-time work is "a good job (is) 30+ hours per week for an organization that provides a regular paycheck."  That 30 hours a week is LOWER than the BLS' 35 hours a week used to define full-time workers.  But it does exclude the self-employed, apparently assuming that most self-employed people don't make a "regular paycheck". Not sure if that is fair.   And, as I said above, this Gallup standard would only be meaningful if it were age-adjusted.  

Employment Participation ALL 18 and over compared to Prime Full-Time Workers.


So as we don't have Gallup's raw numbers, let's look at the number of prime age workers working full-time as a comparison of the prime age population from the data we do have available; that is, data from the BLS.  According to the BLS (without pulling out part-time workers, which I'll attempt to do at some later date), the percentage of people over 18 who are working dropped from 63.2% in 2008 to 60.6% in 2014, though it did actually increase slightly in 2014.  But it's been remarkably stagnant during these recession years for the simple reason that we have so many people aging into retirement.   (See graph above.)

Now let's look at this same data if we only look at primary aged workers, thus eliminating the huge numbers of retiring Baby Boomers:  The employment ratio of ALL primary working aged people 25-54 compared to all people 25-54 is now 76.7%, the highest it has been in six years. It was 70% in 2008.  The highest this number has EVER been is 81.5% in the year 2000.     

Working full-time?  The percentage of people 25-54 who are employed FULL-TIME (see graph above) peaked at about 73% in 2000 when compared with the last 30 years.  It dropped down to about 65% during the depth of the recession, and it has now climbed back up to 67%.  (In the golden Reagan year of 1986 (snark), this percentage was a whopping 68%.  Was the Gallup CEO writing columns back in 1986 talking about the horrible percentage of full-time workers?  I doubt it.)   

What does this all mean?

What to make of all of this? The official unemployment rate is and always has been a generally accepted gauge of the health of the economy and the health of the labor market.  It isn't perfect, and it includes a lot of stuff, both good and bad, that isn't really accurate.  It counts, for instance, high school kids who want a part-time job.  It counts college students who want a part-time job.  I'm not sure if either of those two groups should really be counted in calculating an official unemployment rate.  It counts people who want part-time work.  If you only WANT a part-time job, are you really in desperate straits?  Perhaps the unemployment rate should only include people who are NOT in school and only looking for full-time work.  It would look quite different, much lower then.  Perhaps it shouldn't include people looking for work when there is another wage earner in the house who makes a good, solid buck, enough to support the whole family.  That would decrease the unemployment rate as well.   
Or perhaps the unemployment rate should include people who want and need really want to work but can only find temporary, part-time, or lousy McJobs.  Then the unemployment rate would be higher.

So.. the standard unemployment rate is what it always has been:  A good, quick, simple indicator of the health of the economy.   But it is NOT a precise indicator of how many people are living in misery or poverty due to lack of employment.  Never has been; probably never will be.   

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