Solid Employment – But Is It Good?

Average workweek wages and average hours worked has always been one of my favorite doodles when tryng to sort through the “goodness” of employment reports. And it makes no difference whether the headline number is rolling around, positive or negative.

The Federal Reserve database (FRED) has both series available – which makes a look at jobs pretty simple. Average Hours of all employees is over here. The average wages data is here.

Bear in mind, however, that this is raw data on the wages side and is not corrected for inflation. So in 2008 when people were making about $22 an hour in the private sector, the increase to $25.53 in last month’s data hasn’t been all “spendable.”

Two factors come into play; one contentious, the other less so.

The less arguable point is government sponsored inflation. That is, printing up way more money that would be justified by increases in the Gross Domestic Product. This waters down your money’s purchasing power directly.

Nire contentious is government tax rates in general, and the disposable income impacts of Obamacare in particular.

If you are a Hillary or Bernie supporter, you might be inclined to argue that insurance costs shouldn’t be considered because the public would be stuck with the tab, anyway.

On the other hand, if you’re a Trump supporter, you might note the increase in healthcare rates announced by Blue Cross of Texas this week.

What that hints at is that when healthcare is very inexpensive, people will consume more of it…sort of like free ice cream. Easy to give away.

I won’t venture into either camp, except to note that the inflation data is easier to deal with: $22.50 in 2008 is about $24.88 here in 2016. Which is why people like me sit back nodding that yes, in 8 years of hard work, wages have gone up, pre-tax, in inflation-adjusted terms, probably well less than a buck an hour.

Now, depending on how you have structured your life, this either IS a big deal, or it is NOT.

I’ll show you what I mean:

Suppose you had purchased a condo in the Phoenix area in 2009 when a passable unit (2-3 bedrooms) could be had for $50,000. In 2009, the Housing portion of CPI was, let’s call it 250. (*It was actually a little lower, but I don’t do decimal points before breakfast.)

Last month, the index nationally was 294 and change. Again, we’ll pass on decimal points.

The UrbanSurvivalist like you, IF you owned a condo, would not have to deal with 17.6% higher housing costs…so you could use some of that money to offset other expenses or better your standard of living. In addition to locked in housing costs, your home would have likely appreciated some…money in your pocket. Perhaps $85,000 today.

Although buying an unlimited cable package is not an increase in your standard of living, nor is additional phone minutes…it is yours to dispose of as you will. But hey, this is about working the system to be screwed a little more gently.

And that brings us around to this morning’s data point: Jobs are plentiful and we’re standing by our bets that the real trouble for the economy will not show up until the first year of the next Presidency. First and second year financial train wrecks are almost traditional… so right now, all roses for the incumbent party:

“The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 4.7 percent in May, and nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+38,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care. Mining continued to lose jobs, and employment in information decreased due to a strike. Household Survey Data In May, the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 4.7 percent, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 484,000 to 7.4 million. Both measures had shown little movement from August to April. (See table A-1.) Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.3 percent), adult women (4.2 percent), Whites (4.1 percent), and Hispanics (5.6 percent) declined in May. The rates for teenagers (16.0 percent), Blacks (8.2 percent), and Asians (4.1 percent) showed little or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.) The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 178,000 to 1.9 million in May. These individuals accounted for 25.1 percent of the unemployed. The number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks decreased by 338,000 to 2.2 million. (See table A-12.) The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 282,000 over the month to 3.6 million. (See table A-11.) In May, the civilian labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 62.6 percent. The rate has declined by 0.4 percentage point over the past 2 months, offsetting gains in the first quarter. The employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, was unchanged in May. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 468,000 to 6.4 million in May, after showing little movement since November. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.) In May, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.) Among the marginally attached, there were 538,000 discouraged workers in May, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in May had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

One reason things LOOK better is the labor force dropped by 458,000 and we’ve long held that the pro immigration (by hook or by crook) was to keep the coffers of Social Security from drying out more quickly than they will, anyway.

The all important labor participation rate actually decreased 2-10ths.

This driove Futures down 50 on the Dow.

It’s not that we have a lot of manufacturing jobs, though manufacturing hours have been holding stable.

Bigger picture: There is starting to be some rotation is as grays (like Ures truly) are retiring and the middle-aged corporate suck-ups move up the food chain creating a vacuum at the bottom rung.

It’s so pronounced that when Elaine and I go out to lunch after non-surgical doctor visits, I’ve been noticing a lot of Help Wanted signs.

That is a good thing.

Madness on Bordering Dept.

Meanwhile, the administration as a kind of going away present to America has failed miserably at border enforcement.

This is not due to the Border Patrol agents, who are mainly very capable. It is as the upper levels where the “catch and release” game is played.

A liberal friend of mine argued a while back that the people who sneak in aren’t technically illegal if they have been reclassified as having pending hearings. We had quite a falling out over that since I pointed out that making shit up on the fly to promote an agenda doesn’t pass our BS detector. But another story.

The problem is that when we don’t have a tight border, along come (literally) the Boys from Brazil to set up a smuggling operation to bring nerdowells from the Middle East into America. To do who knows what to us.

About here, with a good grasp of history and the third tier of global power that Joseph Farrell and others have written about, that you might ask about that former Nazi breakaway civilization and if this is how they move assets around for their next tweaking of the second tier.

While we can only guess at such things from a distance, it would be a reasonable guess. As Farrell and others note, the opposition to American ideals is a non-state entity with untold trillions in loot. It is literally above governments, so it’s hard to figure how to root it out.

Except to say that it will exploit any weaknesses and will use stooges in the American deep government (or the sort you can’t un-elect) to keep chipping away at the roots of freedom and American ideals. You just need to connect a lot of dots…

Simple Answers for a Country of Simpletons

Although I bitch and moan about a lot of things, we do offer solutions to many of the (made up social-media crap) “problems” that seem to be keeping us from thinking clearly.

A solution arose just this morning when I read how “Massachusetts Moves Closer To Transgender Bathroom,”

You and I need to be in the sign-making business. We will make one set of signs for “Stand Up Pee Processor Room” and “Sit Down Poo Processor Room.

It’s the new “roman baths” here at the end of Pax Americana.

Speaking of Exceptionalism

Oh my God…the rain in Texas. Yowza, yowza, yowza…has it been coming down.

Messing up agriculture and down in the Killeen area, five soldiers died and four are missing from the flash flooding.

Our rain gauge here at Uretopia ranch is brimming…and I’ve given up for now trying to keep it emptied.

We’re only due for a quarter inch of rain today, a third of an inch tomorrow and then summer should arrive for a week, or longer.

Temps will be as much as 10-degrees below normal, which would account for India being a living hell lately.

INVESTMENT IDEA: Go look at companies in the Ag sector. With all the heat in India, I have to think they will be looking to buy grains shortly if their crops don’t come in…could be some commodity play there, although we make no representations.

The Wimpytics of Ryan

When we read Analysis: Paul Ryan Backs Down — It’s Donald Trump’s Party : our characterization of Paul Ryan as a turncoat who had lost his way and had formed the Obama Wing of the GOP was vindicated.

What’s wrong with core values and restoring American Exceptionalism?

Even now, Speaker Milquetoast doesn’t seem to hear what America wants…specifically is some ass-kicking, name-taking leadership. Which is why Bernie and Trump appeal to the new middle.

My God the Fools on the Hill are slow…

If food spoiled this fast, it would be rotten by the time you got home from the store. Such is corp-gov politics.


Solid Employment – But Is It Good? — 11 Comments

  1. George, why do your new subscription links get flagged as maybe unsafe? I’d like to subscribe, but…..

  2. Hello, George. Re: Sudden heat following rain, the expression ‘bumper crop of skeeters’ comes to mind. Might want to stock up on veggie oil (for the puddles). It’s ‘environmentally friendly’, and it cuts off their air supply (tiny holes called ‘spiracles’ on their bodies). Cooking spray is also good for yellowjackets and their nests, spiders, & other ‘bugs’ too. Stay well.

    Robert in WA State

  3. They are called unisex bathrooms, and are found all over the world and in every home.

    The rest is just a weapon of mass distraction.

  4. Life is good my cabin in the city near the hospital has increased 85% since 2009

    • Look up LAZY PORCH GARDEN ON YOU tube OR GOOGLE. IAM ENJOYING EATING FROM A GARDEN on my PORCH without weeds or extreme sunshine ,,iam looking forward to an expanding future using worms, chickens ,and fish ,,y’all have a good day now y’all hear, PS I really hope George your sight gets back to normal or if nothing else maybe abnormal like Superman with X-RAY vision. Lol

  5. Two things..the average wage 25.00 and change..I’m assuming that they are taking gross wages and dividing the figure by population.
    I’m not sure about the rest of the country..but from news headlines that say..if you raise minimum wage to twelve dollars would destroy the ecconomy..well that would say to me that the average wage earner isn’t making anywhere close to 25.00 an fact around these parts average wage is ten to thirteen dollars an hour..majority are part time no benefits. As for insurance rates increasing..yup I’m betting on greed..since if you don’t have insurance well that doesn’t mean you instantly love tour family or yourself less than the few full time employees that have will seek help in since a clinic doesn’t have to see you if you don’t have insurance or cash puts a heavier loaf on the emergency rooms..
    trust me when I say the staff and hospital can’t do that for free so the loss has to be passed on to those that do have insurance or the means to pay..fifty dollar bandaid..I knew a man that was required to have his Tylenol (generic) filled by the company..thirty Tylenol just under five hundred a month billed to him or his insurance..I’m betting greed as things degrade as the great GOP population sellout bill takes affect its only going to get
    more interesting as time goes by.
    also the reason Obama made it into office the first time was because he was running on healthcare because of the run away prices..instead of letting a few insurance companies write it..someone up on the hill shouldhave had a little bit of Jefferson or franklin in them and whipped off the dust and cobwebs from that thing they call a desk pulled out a pen..marveled for a minute on this new unusedcontraption then penned a short paragraph saying no discrimination no price gouging and no borders for insurance and pharmaceuticals..but they didnt.they let some groups write a nightmare of a law that no one..would even read the ankle grabber preface..enough of my opinion

  6. The connuts and sennutes are slugs with salt on them for years of not being financially responsable. Take away their benefits

  7. Speaking of investments. How will common stock of a public utility ( electric co. ) perform when TSHTF scenario unfolds ? Savings accounts pay a miserably low rate, but the above mentioned common stocks is paying considerably more, and seems as if the stock easily beats out a savings account. Use savings to buy and hold stock ? Yes / No ?

    • TSHTF scenarios are the stuffs of science-fiction books or perhaps horror generes. The only TSHTF scenario that I can envision is a large asteroid hitting key metro areas causing trillions in damage which insurance claims turn away from (ie. “Act of God”). And if we are right with God, we don’t worry at all. Living a life of worry versus trying to find value in every moment is a sad life to lead. Enjoy today – for tomorrow may certainly come.

    • Depends…

      If you define the poo-slinging by something local, like Joplin, or even a cat-5 hurricane running the entire Eastern Seaboard, financial prospects would be very good. If, however, your definition is of a prepper-style SHTF scenario like Tambora blowing its top (which would eliminate growing seasons and solar-electric power, worldwide, for several years) or a Carrington-style solar EMP (which would eliminate the power grid, most transportation, and all non-radio communication for whatever part of the planet it struck), all evidence of your investment is probably going to evaporate into the ether of what was the Internet, and the utilities’ RoR or RoI won’t matter.

      FWIW John Mc: Virtually our entire contemporary lifestyle is the stuff of F&SF writers from times past. A large asteroid or comet strike, or a major Yellowstone eruption are not SHTF scenarios, they are ELE or Extinction Level Events, because such an occurrence would kill virtually every living thing on the planet — individual or species survival being determined by freakishly good luck rather than any amount of any type of preparation. They all WILL happen again, as will another Carrington Event. Odds of any of them happening this year are infinitesimally small though, so I don’t invest any time in worrying about that which I can do nothing…