Economy Roiled By Health Threat, But Some Companies Looking To Hire

From the New York Times:

The volume of food and paper products passing through a warehouse just outside Los Angeles is up 30 percent from the same time a year ago.

Pizza deliveries are surging as people around the country hunker down. Medical product manufacturers are racing to help hospitals lacking critical equipment needed to diagnose and treat Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Millions of people lost jobs or saw their wages severely curtailed last week as many companies shut down or cut back on operations. But the pandemic has also created a spike in demand for critical products and services, causing some of America’s biggest employers to scramble to try to hire workers.

On Thursday, Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, said it was looking to hire 150,000 additional employees through the end of May.

The grocery chain Kroger is hiring 10,000 people across its stores and distribution centers. Amazon is also planning to hire 100,000 additional people to keep up with the crush of online orders.

While the casinos here in Las Vegas are closed, I did see several of the large grocery stores have “Hiring” signs up. I know these may not be some people’s “chosen careers,” but if a family needs an income, at least there are a few opportunities to earn a living.

130,000 Jobs Added In August, Prior Months Revised Down 20K

According to the latest jobs report released by the Labor Department Friday, 130,000 jobs were added to the economy in August, missing expectations.

NPR reports experts had predicted job gains of nearly 158,000.

The report could have been worse if the federal government hadn’t hired 25,000 temporary workers in anticipation for the 2020 Census.

The numbers show the factory sector shrank last month for the first time in three years.

CNBC notes that private sector hiring was up by only 96,000, the lowest pace since February.

Additionally, job gains in June and July were adjusted downward by 20,000.

The national unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%.

US Economy Adds 263,000 Jobs In April

The Labor Department reports that 263,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in April, making for a record 103 straight months of positive job growth.

With those jobs factored in, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent, the lowest since 1969.

The official unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent for more than a year.

Additionally, average hourly earnings rose 3.2 percent in the past year.

General Motors Announces 5 Plant Closures, 14,000+ Layoffs

The Chicago Tribune is reporting General Motors, the largest automaker in the United States, will be laying off 14,500 factory and white-collar workers.

In addition, five plants will be closed during a 2019 company restructuring.

The reduction includes 8,100 white-collar workers, some of whom will take buyouts and others who will be laid off. Most of the affected factories build cars that won’t be sold in the U.S. after next year. They could close or they could get different vehicles to build. They will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year.

The four factories in the U.S. and one in Canada could be shuttered by the end of 2019 if the automaker and its unions don’t come up with an agreement to allocate more work to those facilities, GM said in a statement Monday.

Plants without products include assembly plants in Detroit; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario. Also affected are transmission factories in Warren, Mich., as well as Baltimore.

More than 6,000 factory workers could lose jobs in the U.S. and Canada, although some could transfer to truck and SUV plants.

The cuts represent 15% of GM’s work force.

The timing could prove problematic for Donald “I Create Jobs” Trump as he enters the 2020 campaign cycle.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the closures will save $6 billion in cash by the end of next year.

This is all in addition to the $6.5 billion in cuts already announced for the end of this year.


Trump Takes Credit For Job Numbers, But He’s Actually In Line With Obama Trends

(Images via Forbes)

Donald Trump is very fond of taking credit for the current economic conditions in the United States.

Low unemployment (3.7%), more jobs being created…

But did he really ‘create’ this? Was there some miraculous reversal of trends that he engineered?

Umm, no.

For instance, start with Trump’s campaign promise that 25 million jobs would be created over 10 years if he were elected.

That sounds like a huge achievement, right?

From Forbes:

President Trump started with a distinct advantage with a workforce of 145.7 million, 9% larger than when President Obama took office. If the workforce were to only grow by 2%, that would add just over 2.9 million jobs a year or 243,000 per month. Over the course of 10 years, there would be over 29 million jobs added.

Additionally, over President Obama’s last six and five years in office after the economy had recovered from the Great Recession, the average employment gains were 2.42 and 2.48 million jobs per year. Pretty much on track to add 25 million over 10 years. So it appears that Trump can reach his 25 million job growth goal even if the economy continued to grow at the pace under Obama .

To provide a monthly comparison, the average employment gain in Obama’s last six years in office (after getting out of the recession’s impact) was 201 thousand. And the average for his last five years was 207 thousand, essentially the same as the 208 thousand for the first nine months this year.

The second graph that shows the U.S. unemployment rate continues on essentially the same path even with a slightly higher GDP growth rate (based on trailing four quarters growth).

A child can see that the trends for both job creation and unemployment are continuing in pretty much a straight line.

Trump hasn’t achieved some incredible ‘turn-around.’

He’s managed to not screw up what President Obama put in motion.

Jobs Report: 2017 Had Weakest Jobs Growth In 7 Years

The new jobs report from the Department of Labor is out today showing employers added 148,000 jobs in December missing the estimated 190,000 figure.

Additionally, the October and November numbers were down showing 9,000 less new jobs than previously reported.

Unemployment remains at 4.1%.

Interestingly, back in 2012, Trump told his followers we needed at least 300K new jobs a month for growth. December’s number are less than half that.

Plus, it’s worth noting that Trump’s big claim to being president is his business acumen and job-creating ability. And yet, in his first year in office, he oversaw 2.06 million new jobs added to the U.S. economy while President Obama’s last year showed 2.24 million new jobs.

The year 2017 represents the weakest year in job growth since 2010.

Even Fox News delivered the bad news.

2017 Average Monthly Job Gains Lag Behind 2016

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 228,000 jobs in November 2018.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1%.

While Donald Trump has touted his “job creation” skills, the fact is he has lagged behind the average number of jobs added each month during President Obama since the end of the Great Recession.

For instance, during Obama’s last year in office, the economy averaged 190,000 new jobs a month while 2017 has averaged 174,000 a month.

Check out other year averages below.

U.S. Loses 33,000 Jobs In September, First Job Losses In 83 Months Of Growth

The Labor Department released its official hiring and unemployment figures for September this morning.

This is the first report of job losses after 83 months of job growth.

From the New York Times:

■ The economy lost 33,000 jobs last month, the first monthly decline in employment in seven years. Wall Street economists had expected very modest employment gains of 80,000, according to Bloomberg.

■ The unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent. August’s jobless rate was 4.4 percent.

■ The average hourly wage grew by 0.45 percent, for a year-over-year gain of 2.9 percent.

■ Revised figures for July and August showed that a total of 38,000 fewer jobs were created in those two months than previously reported.

Experts blame the job losses on Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, but President Obama was able to maintain job growth through Hurricanes Matthew and Sandy.


Unemployment Inches Up In August As Job Growth Misses Expectations

Unemployment ticked up to 4.4% in August as the economy only added 156,000 jobs, missing the mark of an estimated 180,000 jobs.


Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting payrolls to grow by 180,000 in August and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 4.3 percent. A broader measure that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons also was unchanged at 8.6 percent.

In addition to missing estimates, previous months’ job totals also were cut. June was revised down from 231,000 to 210,000 while July fell from the initially reported 209,000 to 189,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Wage growth also was weak for the month, with average hourly earnings up 0.1 percent for an annualized rate of 2.5 percent. The average work week declined by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours.

Donald Trump likes to tout his “job-creating” ability. But, just for giggles, let’s compare the number of jobs added to the economy this year and last year during the same time period when Barack Obama was prez:

• 1st 8 months of 2016: 1,548,000

• 1st 8 months of 2017: 1,405,000

Now, if math serves me correctly, there were 148,000 more jobs created in the first 8 months of 2016 than 2017.

Trump Says He “Created” Over 1 Million Jobs But It’s Not True

Donald Trump is fond of saying that he created over a million jobs in the first six months of his presidency.

Such language – “I’ve created over a million jobs since I’m president” – is a departure from most presidents who usually use phrases like “the economy has added X number of jobs” or “American businesses have added X number of jobs.” But when it comes to the Trumpster, it’s all about him.

Economic experts say it’s actually difficult to quantify how much a president can influence the job market.

Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution says it would be wrong to take Trump’s claim literally because American employers actually create jobs, not the president.

And, the trend of job creation in the U.S. over the past 7 years has not changed trajectory. In fact, the number of jobs added to the economy over the past six months lags behind the same time periods of the past few years.

From the Washington Post:

In the first six months of Trump’s presidency, there have been slightly more than 1 million jobs created, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But Burtless noted there’s been very little change in the trend in employment in the first six months of 2017, compared with the same period in the previous four years.

In fact, the gain in payroll employment in the January-through-July period was a bit slower in 2017 compared with the previous four years, whether measured as an absolute rise in the number of nonfarm payroll jobs or as a percentage of employment in January of the indicated year.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

As you can see in the graphic above, the number of jobs added in the first half of this year is actually less than the same period in Obama’s last four years in office. Ironically, Trump criticized Obama for those very same numbers at the time.

The Washington Post goes on to say that Trump might have some foundation to base his boasts on if he had passed any major economic legislation, but the fact is Trump has little achievement to point to on the legislative front.