Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Data Say There's Something Wrong With The Present Narrative

In my world -- and, most importantly, on behalf of our clients -- I can't let my politics cloud my thinking. And of course cloudy, no, make that foggy with virtually zero visibility, would be the state of my economic thinking if my guide happened to be a given political narrative. 

In the face of the political leaning that my upbringing inspires in me, I learned very long ago that the side of the aisle from which a given narrative ascends matters not, as both story lines are, forgive me my cynicism, NEVER much more than politically-inspired manipulations.

Case in point: The present state of the U.S. job market says emphatically that we're not getting killed, or losing "our" jobs, to trade.

In fact, per the below, there are more job openings in America today than there are available bodies to fill them ("JOLTS" stands for Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey).

Note: If, by the way, you're a staunch conservative and, despite the qualifiers I inserted, you resent my statement above, take a look at the position on trade of arguably the most left-leaning candidate during the last campaign (it will ring eerily familiar). Make no mistake, my commentary herein would be equally frank had that gentleman taken the White House, as it was during the last administration.

Job openings were little changed while remaining abundant at 6.662 million in June versus an upwardly revised 6.659 million in May. The number of hires remained well below job openings at 5.651 million in June, down from May's 5.747 million, while separations, which includes quits, layoffs and discharges, rose to 5.502 million from 5.419 million. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged from May at 2.3 percent, while layoffs and discharges were also little changed at 1.2 percent.

Consensus Outlook

The number of job openings has moved ahead of the number of unemployed for the first time on record. At a consensus 6.650 million, forecasters see job openings in June edging higher from May's total of 6.638 million. The quits rate of this report has also been moving higher, suggesting that workers are growing more confident and are on the hunt for higher pay.

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