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.

Continue reading

10/11/18

Labor by the Numbers

Big Red Car here looking for some labor love. Nah, I’m way overstocked in love, but I do want to talk about how the labor picture looks in the United States.

The top line shout out is — low unemployment, wage gains, and more job openings than people to fill them, but the real picture requires us to look a little deeper. So, we shall.

Image result for images labor day

OK, I get it. It’s not labor day, but we’re talking “labor” right? If you have a job, every day is labor day.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

08/1/18

The Economy

The economy, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here on a warmish Wednesday in the Great State of Texas. Ahh, on Earth as it is in Texas!

So, the Big Red Car is taking a look at the economy — IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID — and likes what he sees.

Continue reading

06/7/18

Employment

Employment, Big Red Car – what about employment?

Dear reader, US employment and unemployment are both headed in the right direction, but there is a concern we need to discuss.

We need to discuss the Labor Force Participation Rate. Do you know what that means?

The LFPR is the percentage of folks aged 16-64 (the labor force) who are currently employed or seeking work.

Here is a picture of what that looks like today with our 3.8% unemployment rate. Notice, in particular, the comparison between our current LFPR/unemployment rate and the Jan-Apr 2000 all time high LFPR. Therein lies the story.

LFPR

Credit Doug Short over at Advisor Perspectives for this great chart. Read his stuff at dshort.com.

Continue reading

01/27/15

Let’s Cut the Crap — Unemployment

Big Red Car here on a glorious ATX day — sun is up and bright and going to be 75F today. No snow in the forecast. Hahaha — get it, New York? [The Big Red Car can be downright cruel at times. Shut up, Big Red Car.]

So, the Big Red Car is perplexed at how ignorant people can be as to how unemployment figures are derived. We focus on some fiction called “U-3” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, today we cut the crap on how unemployment information is manipulated — YES, MANIPULATED. Continue reading