December 8, 2017

Kaiser Health Network: Reducing Income to Pay Obamacare Premium Is Just Another Financial Strategy

An article published at the Kaiser Health News website earlier this week showed how skyrocketing Obamacare premiums have caused one married woman to switch from full-time employment to part-time. The article identified something the establishment press almost never does, namely the specific dollar amount of an Obamacare premium. But reporter Rachel Bluth was untroubled by the implication that thousands if not millions of Americans might be making similar decisions.


November 2017 Employment Situation Summary (120817): 228K Jobs Added, Unemployment Rate Stays at 4.1 Percent; Seasonally Adjusted Results Understate Underlying Strength by ~100K; ADP-BLS Year-to-Date Jobs Gap is 450K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:28 am

Background: ADP’s November private-sector report came in at 190,000 jobs added. ADP through November shows 673,000 more private-sector jobs added year-to-date than the government does through October.


The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS: (permanent link with tables): A bit of a beat on jobs, but there’s still that huge private-sector gap. All of this is pending a look at the raw numbers, but here goes —

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent in November, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.6 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.5 percentage point and 799,000, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers increased to 15.9 percent in November. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult women (3.7
percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (7.3 percent), Asians (3.0 percent), and Hispanics (4.7 percent) showed little change.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.6 million in November and accounted for 23.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 275,000.

The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7 percent in November and has shown no clear trend over the past 12 months. The employment-population ratio, at 60.1 percent, changed little in November and has shown little movement, on net, since early this year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 4.8 million, was essentially unchanged in November but was down by 858,000 over the year. 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 full-time jobs.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care. Employment growth has averaged 174,000 per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 187,000 in 2016.

Employment in professional and business services continued on an upward trend in November (+46,000). Over the past 12 months, the industry has added 548,000 jobs.

In November, manufacturing added 31,000 jobs. Within the industry, employment rose in machinery (+8,000), fabricated metal products (+7,000), computer and electronic products (+4,000), and plastics and rubber products (+4,000). Since a recent low in November 2016, manufacturing employment has increased by 189,000.

Health care added 30,000 jobs in November. Most of the gain occurred in ambulatory health care services (+25,000), which includes offices of physicians and outpatient care centers. Monthly employment growth in health care has averaged 24,000 thus far in 2017, compared with an average increase of 32,000 per month in 2016. Within construction, employment among specialty trade contractors increased by 23,000 in November and by 132,000 over the year.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in November. In manufacturing, the workweek was unchanged at 40.9 hours, and overtime remained at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.

In November, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $26.55. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 64 cents, or 2.5 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 5 cents to $22.24 in November.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised up from +18,000 to +38,000, and the change for October was revised down from +261,000 to +244,000. With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 3,000 more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 170,000 over the last 3 months.

The civilian labor force barely budged (+57K) and the not in labor force figure increased slightly to 95.42 million. Longer-term, 1.9 million Americans entered the labor force in the past 12 months, which has not been enough to keep the not in labor force figure from increasing by 375K.

Meanwhile, the private-sector added 221K jobs in November. Assuming pretty safely that prior months were revised only slightly, the ADP-BLS gap is about 450,000 jobs. This difference didn’t meaningfully narrow.

I’ll look at the raw numbers and will have other comments shortly.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Results:

  • Actual total nonfarm job additions, i.e., before seasonal adjustments, were 532K, the highest November figure since 2005 (though barely above 524K in 2013). The seasonal adjustment to 228K understates the strength of that raw number by about 100K in the context of the past 4 years’ seasonal conversions.
  • Actual private-sector job additions were 420K, the highest November figure since since 1945 (though barely above 409K in 2013, and obviously not adjusted for workforce size). As with total nonfarm, the seasonal conversion to 221K in in the private sector understates the strength of the raw numbers by about 100K.

Let’s take a detailed look at the past four years to justify the above assessment.


This is something I plan to do every month from this point forward; I may even come up with a name for it (suggestions are welcome).

Using the November 2017 private sector as the basis for comparison, one would expect this year’s raw job additions of 420L, which were greater than November 2016 by 117K, to lead to a seasonally adjusted result of 295K (178K last year + 117K difference). Doing that same calculation for the three previous Novembers leads to the results seen above, which on average would have led one to expect that today’s raw result to convert to 326K instead of 221K. So in that sense, today’s result underestimates the strength of the raw result by 105K.

This isn’t to point fingers at the BLS’s more detailed calculations which go into their seasonal adjustments (BLS’s overalll results are really the sum of a large number of results in individual industries, and give greater weight to more previous years), but regardless of how they’re done, I think it’s useful (arguably more useful than the seasonal adjustments themselves) to compare their overall results to the overall detail during the same month ine previous years. We can then see if BLS’s results seem to overstate or understate the overall underlying strength of the underlying raw numbers.

More observations shortly.

UPDATE: Here we go (references are to seasonally adjusted figures unless otherwise noted) —

  • Household Survey employment only increased by 57K, but it was such a yo-yo in previous months (+906K in September and -484K in October) that it’s hard to evaluate its meaning.
  • There’s a surprisingly big difference between the unemployment rate for 20-and-over African-American men (7.4 percent) and women (5.9 percent).
  • Great again? Full-time employment is up by 2.614 million in the past 12 months (2.579 million in the past 11). Part-timers are down by 754K. Full-time employment in calendar 2016 increased by only 1.548 million, while part-timers that year increased by 525K.
  • The increase in the reported average work week caused the small 5 cent increase in hourly pay to turn into something meaningful $4.08 increase (0.48 percent) in weekly earnings. As a result, hourly pay is up by 2.5 percent in the past 12 months, but weekly earnings is up a slightly more acceptable 3.1 percent.
  • It’s only a theory, but I believe that temporary employment (up 18.3K in November) continues to increase because of the expansion seen in manufacturing. If manufacturers, as has been their growing tendency, are taking on more people as temps and hoping to convert them to their own payrolls after they prove themselves, that would be understate total true employment in the manufacturing sector.

OVERALL, this was a stronger month than the seasonally adjusted numbers would suggest. The year-long trend towards more full-time and less part-time work is especially encouraging. Partially offsetting that good news, it would seem that more workers need to get into the labor force if we’re going to get a genuinely a strong economic expansion close to 4 percent next year.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120817)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Good Gal With A Gun Stops Wannabe Cop-Killer

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Dawson County, Georgia (HT Daily Caller):

POSTED: DEC 05 2017 03:26PM EST
UPDATED: DEC 06 2017 10:27PM EST

Sergeant hospitalized after assault; suspect shot by bystander

chaotic scene in Dawson County Tuesday afternoon where what started out a good deed ended in gunfire and injuries.

It started at a Chevron on Georgia Highway 400 after 52-year-old Sgt. Randy Harkness gave a man a courtesy ride. Sheriff Jeff Johnson said the Harkness had given the man a courtesy ride to the gas station to help him out with a bit of money.

“He then began to give the gentleman some money just to help him out and the suspect began to physically assault him,” said Sheriff Johnson.

The sheriff said an unidentified woman in her late 20s in a car at the Chevron witnessed the assault, got out of her car, gun in hand, and fired at suspect Justin Foster while he was attacking Harkness. Eyewitnesses in the gas station saw it unfold.

“She shot off, a round. The guy got off the police officer and she shot another round and he was running that way I think, there was three shots,” said Aseem Kahn, owner of the station.

The sheriff’s office told FOX 5 News, Foster, who’d been hit by at least one slug, ran across the street to this McDonald’s where he attacked an elderly woman in the parking lot.

Sharon Cheek, shift manager at the McDonald’s told FOX 5 News it appeared the homeless man had been trying to steal the woman’s car.

“He told her, looked at her, and told her she was dead, and then punched her square in the nose, 75 years there was no sense,’ said Cheek.

Cheek said before he could do more harm a couple of customers subdued him.

“Punched him, then got him on the ground and started beating him he was holding him down ‘til the cops got here,” said Cheek.

Neither of the men who subdued the suspect nor the woman who shot him wanted to speak publicly.

“They are the heroes because they kept him from injuring anybody else,” said Cheek.

“It could have been worse, mate, thank you for that lady who was carrying,” said Kahn. …

Go here for the rest of the story.