Friday, September 15, 2017

Job Watch

This is Page7

Trump vs Obama: pending.

Reagan vs Obama: job recovering following a recession. Reuters and Bloomberg keep telling us job growth is strong, but never seem to really back up that assertion.

The Magic Numbers (change with Trump administration -- see earlier pages for previous "magic numbers")
First time claims, unemployment benefits: 275,000 (> 250,000: economic stagnation)
New jobs: 150,000 (< 150,000 new jobs: economic stagnation)
Economists estimate the labor market needs to create about 125,000 jobs a month to keep the unemployment rate steady, though estimates vary -- Reuters
For "first time claims," the mainstream media was consistently happy with first time claims ~ 275,000 under President Obama. In hindsight, the previous number of 400,000 seemed incredibly high.

For "new jobs," 125,000 will be the new "base." The final number under the Obama administration, was 156,000. Even though 156,000 was described as "tepid" by The New York Times, it was associated with economic growth. Now, June 2, 2017, Steve Liesman (and others) suggest that 121,000 is a fine number.

With both these numbers, the Fed under Janet Yellen felt comfortable raising "rates" for the first time in quite some time.

After about the first two years of posting these updates, it had become clear/obvious that the figures were often suspect, if not outright falsified. On November 18, 2013, it was reported that, indeed, unemployment figures have been falsified.
In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.
The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.
And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.
Take the numbers for what they are worth, I guess. Not much. Rick Santelli, CNBC, January 6, 2017, also suggested the numbers were suspect when the December jobs report, at 156,000, was incredibly bad, and yet unemployment number (4.7%) did not change.

Updates

January 18, 2018: record plunge in first time claims. Claims drop 4x greater than forecast.

January 11, 2018: unexpected surge; now up to 261,000; up 11,000 (or 9,000); harsh winter conditions blamed;

January 4, 2018: up 3,000 to 250,000; previous week revised slightly;

December 20, 2017: rise more than expected.

December 8, 2017: incredible jobs report.

November 30, 2017: essentially unchanged; at 238,000 (I assume the gap from November 16 report was due to Thanksgiving.)

November 16, 2017: claims surge; more than expected; up 10,000 to 239,000.

November 9, 2017: one week claims surge by 10,000; a bit more than forecast; but look at this -- four-week average: declined 1,250 to 231,250, the lowest point for the average since 227,750 in the March 31, 1973 week

November 3, 2017: unemployment at lowest rate since December, 2000 -- 4.1%. 

October 26, 2017: increased less than expected (good news); rose 10,000 to 233,000;

October 19, 2017: US unemployment claims fall to 222,000, lowest in 44 years.

October 4, 2017: hurricane effect; ADP dropped to a paltry 135,000 but "the market" is looking past these figures. 

September 28, 2017: first time claims up 12,000. The four-week average surged by 9,000, to 277,750, the highest level since February, 2016. 

September 21, 2017: huge, unexpected drop. The forecast was for first time claims to actually increase from 284,000 to 303,00 -- an increase of almost 20,000 first time claims. In fact, the number dropped. And it did not drop by an insignificant amount. The drop was huge. The number of first time unemployment claims dropped 23,000. If one adds the 20,000 forecast to the 23,000 decrease, the analysts were a) off in the direction of the move; and, b) off by more than 40,000 claims. 

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