U.S. reaching full employment in July, Why do I have to walk the street…

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U.S. reaching full employment in July, Why do I have to walk the street...

U.S. reaching full employment in July, Why do I have to walk the street… The Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington says the US economy created 162,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate is 7.4% on a participation rate of 63.4% Personal income was up 0.3%

According to a Reuters poll, the consensus on Wall Street was for 184,000 new jobs, with the unemployment rate ticking down a tenth of a point to 7.5 percent,

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For today’s financial trading, expect a slight let down because the headline number came up short of expectations. That latter point in important. As a former currency trader, I learned the hard way that good economic stats are not going to make you any money if they don’t top what the market thought would happen.

For the financial markets in the longer term, this means that the US economy is still moving ahead, and that in turn, means that the Federal Reserve is going to start tapering off on its bond purchases eventually – the question remains when?

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The bond purchases represent the quantitative easing that increased the money supply in an attempt to kick-start the economy, Usually a central bank will just lower interest rates to do this, but the Fed had knocked US rates to zero a few years ago.

Interest rates at your local bank might move up a bit when this happens, but the fed funds rate that is so important to the banks themselves won’t be going up for quite a while yet.

Employment rose in retail trade, food services and drinking places, financial activities, and wholesale trade.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (6.5 percent) and blacks (12.6 percent) declined in July. The rates for adult men (7.0 percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), whites (6.6 percent), and Hispanics (9.4 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. 

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The number those employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.2 million in July. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

The headline figures for May and June were revised. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +195,000 to +176,000, and the change for June was revised from +195,000 to +188,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 26,000 less than previously reported.

Now, let me pontificate a bit about something that plan bugs me to death. The unemployment rate gets too much attention from the public and the media, and the participation rate is why.

The unemployment rate is calculated by taking the entire work force (that portion of the overall population of working age), deciding how many of those people are actually trying to participate in the economy and then figuring out what percentage of that figure is working.

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Suppose there are 10 million people who want jobs but can’t find work. Suppose further that 1 million of them decide to go to college for a degree or opt to be stay-at-home parents. That means the number of people participating in the economy falls by 1 million; the participation rate falls by definition because 1 million people have opted out. As a result, you have 9 million people without jobs instead of 10 million, so the unemployment rate falls by definition.

Suppose a year later that half a million people of the 9 million have found work. That means the total without jobs is now 8.5 million. The unemployment rate will be lower as a result. But right after that., those people in college and those at home with the kids see the 500,000 new jobs They think, right, let’s go back to work And so the number of people participating in the economy rises by that 1 million. You have 500,000 more jobs than before, but instead of the 8.5 million looking for work, you’ve increased the participation rate so 9.5 million are out of work but looking. The result, more jobs and a higher unemployment rate at the same time.

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