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Unemployment up at 3.7%...AUG jobs under Trump HERE

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Republican Senators Block Minimum Wage Increase

The Republicans LOOK hard-hearted?  They ARE hard-hearted, and they do NOT care about the American people unless they are uber-rich donors. 

From Andrew Rafferty at NBC:

Democratic legislation to raise the federal minimum wage hit a road block Wednesday when Republicans blocked the bill in the Senate, setting up an election-year battle over which party can best grow the economy and help struggling Americans.
The 54-42 vote was six votes shy of the 60 needed to advance the legislation that would gradually up the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 over the span of 30 months. The bill also included increases based on inflation that, if fully implemented, would allow a family of three to earn an annual income above the poverty line.
Republicans argue the bill will hurt small business owners, which may need to cut jobs to account for the higher wages. They cite a study released by the Congressional Budget Office released in February that found, while helping to alleviate poverty, raising minimum wage would cost the country about 500,000 jobs.
Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the vote was “all about politics” and aimed at making the GOP look “hard-hearted.”
Democrats, fighting to keep control of the Senate ahead of November’s midterm elections, have sought to portray GOP opposition as evidence Republicans are ignoring struggling Americans.
“Their vote today clearly indicates they have problems way bigger than anything they acknowledge in retreats or autopsies,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said after the vote. “Their vote today defines their priorities.”
President Barack Obama has made the issue a priority and planned to speak about its importance Wednesday afternoon.
The Republicans have used the Congressional Budget Office's estimate that such an increase in the minimum wage could cost 500,000 jobs.  BUT somewhere between 10 million and 30 million people who now make less than $10 an hour would benefit, AND we are adding jobs at over 180,000 a month.  We'll make up those 500,000 jobs in about three months IF the CRS estimates are at all accurate.  Also, this increase would be phased in over 30 months, so it would not hit with one big bang.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Money, money... More Money? Average Hourly Income Graph

The Average Hourly Income of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers in 1982-1984 Dollars:

Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Non-supervisory employees adjusted for inflation

The BLS shows us the average hourly income of production and non-supervisory employees, which eliminates managers and most fat cats, as expressed in 1982-1984 dollars, on the above graph.  The average hourly wage reached its lowest recent point back in the end of the George Bush I/early Bill Clinton days in 1990 through 1996.  It then started to ramp up, reaching a post-80's peak in 2003.  It was very volatile, probably due to inflation, in the 2003 through 2008 period of time, and then started to climb as the Recession took hold.  (During a recession, prices often decline and we have deflation vs. inflation.  Despite a poor job market, wages adjusted for inflation often rise during such economies.)

As deflation resolved and the economy started to grow in 2009 and 2010, the rise in inflation-adjusted wages evened out.  It fell off some in 2011 and 2012, but then started to rise again in 2013 as the economy did start to add jobs.  We don't have this figure for March yet, but in February 2014, this number was equivalent to what it was in 1979, before a period of high inflation.

We've all heard that household income has barely started to rise and that most of the gains in productivity have gone to the upper 1 to 10%.  Despite the rise in inflation-adjusted wages for "regular" workers, income and wealth inequality continues to widen.  And, of course, as we look at the graph above, we can see that we are nowhere as well off in inflation-adjusted hourly wages as we were during 1972-1973.  

The above graph raises more questions than it answers, though:  If average wages, even for the peons, are actually rising, why does it FEEL as though they aren't?

And how do those wages look WITHOUT adjustments for inflation?  Like this:

Average Hourly earnings of Production and Non-supervisory Employees NOT Adjusted for Inflation

How Many Jobs Were Created or Lost in March 2014?

New record in private sector jobs:  We have 116,087,000 private sector jobs in the U.S., a new record surpassing the number of private sector jobs when the recession began, in January 2008.  The economy has regained (or recouped) all private sector jobs lost during the recession.

In March 2014:
  • 192,000 TOTAL payroll jobs were ADDED in seasonally adjusted numbers.
  • 192,000 PRIVATE payroll sector jobs were ADDED in seasonally adjusted numbers.
  • There was NO CHANGE in the number of GOVERNMENT sector (federal, state, and local) jobs in March. 
  • 476,000 MORE people employed.
  • 184,000 MORE people employed full-time.
  • 365,000 MORE people employed part-time.
  • 503,000 MORE people in the civilian labor force (people either working or looking for work).
  • 27,000 MORE people unemployed.
  • Unemployment rate stays the same at 6.7% due to the large number of people who joined the labor force in March.

How Many Jobs Have Been Lost or Gained Over the Past Year from March 2013 to March 2014?

March 2014 jobs numbers and unemployment reports have been released this morning, Friday, April 4th.  

 Please check back for this report.

How Many Jobs Has Obama Created or Lost? (Updated for March 2014)

This report has been updated for March 2015 HERE.

The following numbers are outdated.  Please click one of the above links for current  numbers.  

How many NET jobs created or lost under Obama as of March 2014?  
How many private sector jobs have been lost or added during Obama's presidency?

How many new jobs since Obama was inaugurated 5 years ago?  How many Americans were working or employed when Obama took office... compared to now?

Numbers for March with all revisions:

Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
  • 8.3 million MORE jobs in total
  • 8.9 million MORE private sector jobs
  • 7.7 million MORE people working
  • ALL private sector jobs lost in the recession since January 2008 have now been recouped.
How many workers were full-time or part-time at the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 compared to now?

  • 7.4 million MORE people working full-time.
  • 216,000 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:
  • 4.0 million MORE jobs in total
  • 4.7 million MORE private sector jobs
  • 3.6 million MORE people working

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

  • 2.2 million MORE people working full-time
  • 1.3 million MORE people working part-time  

Have any private jobs been lost (net) over the past 
49 months since February 2010?
  • 49 months of consecutive private-sector job growth.

Have any jobs been lost (net) over the past 42 months since September 2010?

  • 42 months of consecutive overall job growth.
Are more people unemployed now than when Obama took office in January 2009?  
  • Despite 2,017,000 MORE people in the labor force (either working or actively looking for work) now vs. January 2009, there are 1,572,000 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 42 months in this country, we have had MORE jobs being added than we have had jobs being cut.  For 49 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 49 months (as of March 2014), 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.

Fact check and important information on these jobs numbers...

The above jobs numbers are from the BLS jobs report of March 2014, which was released in April 2014.  The surveys used to gather these numbers in March are taken as of the week which includes the 12th day of the month, in this case, March 12, 2014. 

All other jobs reports (2011 through 2015) indexed HERE

Private Govt Jobs Gained Lost Obama

March 2014 jobs numbers and unemployment reports have been released this morning, Friday, April 4th.  

 Please check back for latest numbers and charts which are now under construction!

What Was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office (compared to now)? Updated for March 2014

This report updated for May 2014 HERE.

What was the unemployment rate when Bush left office and Obama was inaugurated? 

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 today's (March 2014's) unemployment rate?   6.7%  

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?

  • Read below the graph.
  • The following chart shows the unemployment rate in three month intervals plus month-by-month for the latest months:

Why are there two lines, one for "Seas Adjusted" and one for "Unadjusted"?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses seasonal adjustments to adjust for the volatility in the labor market from one month to the next.  The relatively even declining red line above shows the unemployment rate based on seasonally adjusted numbers.  The jagged green line shows the unemployment rate based on "real", "raw" numbers; the unadjusted rate.  Notice that the green line goes up in January (after holiday layoffs) and July (school-related layoffs), and it goes down in October and April, which are strong months for workers.  (Employees are all back to school in October, and employers are staffing up for the holidays.  Schools are also full in April and employers are starting to staff up for summer, construction, vacation venues, etc.)  The red line helps us to compare the unemployment rate over a period of months; the green line, however, reflects "reality":  Your friends, neighbors, and family members actually working or not working.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

March 2014 Unemployment Rate, Jobs

New record in private sector jobs:  We have 116,087,000 private sector jobs in the U.S., a new record surpassing the number of private sector jobs when the recession began, in January 2008.

March 2014 Jobs Numbers and Unemployment Rate were released Friday morning, April 4, 2014.

March 2014 BLS highlights:

  • The BLS reports that 192,000 payroll jobs were added in March, about in line with projections, (though some economists projected that over 200,000 jobs would be added.)
  • January jobs numbers were revised upwards by 15,000 and February numbers were revised upwards  by 22,000.  Job growth has averaged 183,000/month over the past 12 months.  
  • Private jobs increased by 192,000.
  • Government jobs stayed exactly the same. 
  • Unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%  The unemployment rate stayed the same despite an additional 476,000 employed because the civilian labor force (the number of people working or looking for work) grew by 503,000(The unemployment rate comes from a different source than the number of jobs which is why the unemployment rate can increase even if the number of jobs increases.  Over time, these two numbers closely parallel each other.  The unemployment rate, however, is much more volatile than the jobs numbers.  Also, the unemployment rate is not directed related to the number of people getting unemployment benefits.  This is one of the biggest employment myths out there. MORE HERE.)   
  • The alternate unemployment rate (which includes part time workers who want full time jobs, discouraged workers, and marginally attached workers) INCREASED to 12.7%, an increase of .1%, one-tenth of a percent. One year ago the alternate unemployment rate was 13.8%.  (The alternate unemployment rate increased this month primarily due to an increase in the number of involuntary part-time workers; that is, the number of people working part-time who would rather work full-time.  This number increased by 225,000 in March.)
  • The labor force increased by 503,000 in March, presumably as the weather improved and people started to look for work or were actually hired.
  • The number of people employed, including agricultural and self-employed, increased 476,000 in March, with an increase of 184,000 employed full-time.
  • Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 8.3 million MORE jobs in total
    • 8.9 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 7.8 million MORE people working* 
    Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 4.0 million MORE jobs in total
    • 4.7 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 3.6 million MORE people working*

Check back for more reports later in the day.

March 2014 reports to be published: (Notation on the links will be changed to "Updated for March" when the updated reports become available.) 

  • The "pundits" expected the March report to show robust job growth as the weather has improved from that of January and February.  A Reuters poll predicted a gain of 200,000 jobs in March.
  • An article in USA Today quotes economists expecting 195,000 up to 230,000 new jobs.
  • Fox News also quotes estimates of 200,000 new jobs with unemployment dropping to 6.6%.
  • The ADP (payroll service) private employment report which was released Wednesday, April 2nd, showed a gain of 191,000 private sector jobs.

Weekly Initial Claims Increase; Less Than 30% of the Unemployed Get Benefits

Initial unemployment (jobless) claims increased last week, but stayed below 330,000, as they have for the past month.  326,000 first time claims were filed for the week ending March 29th, a number solidly in the range of first time claims filed back in August and September 2013, before the federal government shutdown in October. 

First time weekly unemployment initial claims increased by 
16,000 this week, the week ending March 29th, to 326,000 after decreasing by 13,000 last week.  

In late summer 2013, layoffs were really down, lower than they had been since early 2007, as can be seen on the graph above.

The government shutdown in October reversed that temporarily, as initial unemployment claims spiked. The numbers started declining as soon as the government was back to work, but the numbers didn't return to those late summer lows for months.

Initial claims spiked the week after Thanksgiving, probably due to seasonal adjustments and the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The numbers then declined until mid-January, jumped a bit and have declined again started a solid decline.  Weekly March numbers have declined from the averages of January and February.  (We don't know how much of an impact the severe winter, which impacted most of the country, had on initial claims in January and February.)

(Even though the weekly initial claims numbers are seasonally adjusted, these numbers are always a bit volatile and should only be analyzed in terms of a trend over a period of weeks.  See the graph above.)

The four-week moving average # of claims, which smooths some of the week-to-week volatility, increased by 250 last week after decreasing by
10,250 the week before.  It is now

Overall, initial claims are now at about the same level they were about seven years ago, in mid 2007. (Unemployment claims started to climb in October through December 2007.)

the current report:
In the week ending March 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 326,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 310,000. The 4-week moving average was 319,500, an increase of 250 from the previous week's revised average of 319,250.
First time unemployment claims increased by 15,000 over those reported last week.  Last week's initial claims numbers were revised downwards by 1,000 claims.  There are usually slight upwards revisions  (1,000 to 3,000) in the numbers of initial claims in most weeks.  (The chart above shows REVISED claims numbers.)  Also, the Department of Labor revised all of their seasonal adjustment factors, as they do every year in the final week of March; however, these were minor adjustments that had no real effect on the unemployment claims numbers. 

Initial Claims Graph:

As usual, to put all of this into perspective, check out the 
red line on the chart at the top of the page to see where jobless claims are now, in 2014, compared to the past three years.

Be aware that:

  1. The graph above shows first time claims, so people who have continued to receive benefits or who have lost unemployment benefits are not counted in these numbers.  
  2. They are seasonally adjusted, so most variations caused by weather or holidays are already included in these numbers. 
  3. As these are weekly numbers, they are more volatile than the monthly numbers.

The chart at the top of the page is one of the BEST charts for understanding and observing changes in the weekly initial claims numbers over time.  This year (red:  2013-14) and the past three years (blue:  2010-11green:  2011-12 and black:  2012-13) are marked in different colors.  You can see that, as a trend, first time claims for unemployment have declined from one year to the next, even though there are variations within the year.  The number of initial unemployment claims had been on a downward trajectory in summer, but it increased steeply during October, then declined, then increased in the week after Thanksgiving, but has been generally declining since then.  

Continuing Claims?

For the week ending March 15th, 
3,201,504 people were receiving unemployment benefits under one of the programs that are available (regular state or a few other smaller programs).  This was a decrease of about 105,000 claims in total since the previous week.  Regular state claims (the first 19 to 26 weeks of claims) decreased by about 100,000 claims; that is, the decline in regular state continuing claims accounted for almost all of the decrease in continuing claims for that week.

As the 
Federal Extended Benefits program (the "Tiers") have still not been renewed, nobody has received those benefits since the week ending December 28th.  Though the Senate has worked out a deal to extend unemployment benefits, the Republicans in the House of Representatives have indicated that they will not bring that measure to a vote. 

For the week ending March 22nd, seasonally adjusted continuing unemployment claims in the regular state program increased by 22,000 claims after decreasing by 55,000 the week before.  We now have 2,836,000 continuing claims.  The total number of continuing claims has stayed below 3,100,000 for about a year, since February 2013.  
(At the peak of the Crash, in early 2009, about 6,500,000 regular state claims were filed a week.)  

Benefits Now vs. a Year Ago?

About 2,078,000 FEWER people are receiving unemployment benefits now vs. one year ago.  Between 1 million and 1.4 million of these people are people who might be eligible for extended benefits if the program were available.  Let's remember that we do not know what has happened to the people who are no longer receiving benefits; we do not know how many of those two million plus people found employment, how many retired, how many have other sources of household income, and how many are still looking for work.  We do know that:

  • There are 1,802,000 MORE people reporting themselves as employed than a year ago.
  • There are  2,158,000 MORE non-farm jobs than a year ago.
  • We also know that a grand total of 54,285,000 hires have been made by employers between February 2013 and January 2014.  (Some people may have been hired more than once during the year, so the number of "hires" is generally higher than the number of additional people with jobs.)   
  • However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics JOLTS (Job Openings, Layoffs, and Turnover Survey) for January 2013, we still have about 2.6 active jobseekers for every job opening out there (down from around 7 jobseekers for every job opening at the peak of the recession in late 2009.) 
  • The percent of unemployed people receiving benefits was 29.39% for the week ending March 15th.  (A year ago, 46.2% of the unemployed were receiving benefits.)

If you are receiving benefits, you may be interested in these reports:  

People receiving benefits compared to total unemployment?

Total number of people receiving unemployment insurance is a very low 29.39% of the officially unemployed for the week ending March 15th.
The weekly report also tells us the total number of people who are receiving unemployment benefits.  For the week ending March 15th, 3,201,504 people were receiving unemployment benefits under one of the programs that are available (regular state, extended benefits, federal extended unemployment compensation, or a few other smaller programs). This compares with 10,893,000 people who are unemployed in unadjusted numbers according to the monthly February unemployment situation report which was released Friday, March 7th.  Those numbers, showing that only 29.4% of the officially unemployed are receiving benefits, should make it clear that people do NOT need to be receiving unemployment insurance to be counted among the unemployed.  (This ratio and these two numbers are NOT seasonally adjusted.)

At the peak of the recession in late 2009 to early 2010, when up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits were still available, 75 to 80% of the unemployed were receiving unemployment benefits.

Extended Benefits (EB) Still Not Available in any State; Federal Extended benefits (the Tiers) have not been restored.

Let's remember that, while a decrease in the number of people FILING for initial claims is a good thing and indicates that fewer people are being laid off, a decrease in the TOTAL number of people getting unemployment insurance may only show that fewer people are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.