11/12/18

Strength of the Economy

Big Red Car here, snowing in the Panhandle and going to be 30F in the ATX tonight? Yes. Snow tonight? Nah.

So, I like to take a look at information below the surface to prove or disprove what the surface currents seem to indicate. One of my favorites is to plumb the depth of the job market and its inverse, unemployment.

Anybody with a brain knows that U-3 — the measure of unemployment that the media uses — is not very accurate for a number of structural reasons. While, folks also know that BLS U-6/7 is a better snapshot.

One other area I like to look at is full time v part time employment.

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09/12/18

Jobs USA

Big Red Car here with a prayer on my lips for the Carolinas and the impending Florence hurricane. Evacuate if y’all are along that coast. Do not risk your life to ride it out.

So, one of the most interesting elements of the current economy is the status of jobs and job openings. Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient data to track this back through prior business cycles because the data was simply not collected back in the day.

There are four data points of interest:

 1. Job openings – positions for which a company is seeking an immediate hire

 2. Hires – former job openings for which a company made a hire

 3. Quits – current employees who voluntarily left a job with a company

 4. Layoffs and discharges – company terminated jobs and firings

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08/4/18

Employment Structural Change

Big Red Car here on a Saturday morning getting ready to go out for blueberry pancakes at the Counter Cafe.

I have always been interested in delving beneath the covers of employment in the United States. The average person focuses on BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) U-3 – the widely reported level of unemployment which is currently at 3.9%, but that paints a very shallow picture of the employment status of the economy. Perhaps, an overly optimistic one.

Let me give you the bottom line first – the US economy is undergoing a huge structural change as the Baby Boomers begin to retire and younger folk have a different attitude toward employment.

I have often observed that the prospect of long term, stable employment is a thing of the past and the “gig” economy is here to stay. Talking to you, Mr. Internet.

My favorite source of useful data and analysis is dshort.com which is run by Doug Short, PhD, under the banner of Advisor Perspectives. You should be reading this guy’s stuff. The best in the business.

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05/12/16

Recovery? Won’t Get Fooled Again

Recovery. Talking recovery today.

Big Red Car here. I’m vexed. People think that the economy is doing fine or, worse, that it is headed in the right direction. It is not.

Let me tell you why. First, say: STRUCTURAL CHANGES to the ugly face of employment.

There are four things we need to look at: total unemployment, unemployment for 25-54 year olds, the Labor Force Participation Rate for the same 25-54 year olds, and Employment-to-Population ratio for the same 25-54 year olds.

So, the hypothesis of this post is this — while America has been engaged in the weakest recession recovery dynamic in the history of the United States, the job market and the structure of our employment force has changed STRUCTURALLY.

A historic example of something like this was the wholesale introduction of women into the work force in the early 1980s. It changed things. Forever.

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04/4/13

Anticipation and Longing for JOBS

Big Red Car here.  Well, it is early and I am not sure what kind of day today will bring.  It is a Thursday and The Boss is looking forward to the Final Four this weekend.  Who is going to win?

Me, I’m looking to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) Friday employment report.  As I am sure you also are.  Haha, Big Red Car, you crack me up.

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