October Jobs Report Is a Blowout Success, Beclowning Economists and Putting a Strong Wind Into Trump's Reelection Campaign

President Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he boards Air Force One as he departs Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is en route to Indiana. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Kevin Hagen;

 

The October jobs report is out and it is little short of phenomenal.

Significantly exceeding expectations, the U.S. economy added 128,000 new jobs in October. An additional 95,000 jobs in upward revisions for August and September show a stronger labor market than previously reported.

“The unemployment rate remains near a 50-year low.  More than 300,000 Americans entered the labor force in October, leading to a slight uptick of the unemployment rate to 3.6%. This marks the twentieth consecutive month in which the unemployment rate has been at or below 4%. It is also encouraging to see another record low unemployment rate for African-Americans.

“Once again, Americans are receiving more money in their paychecks, as year-over-year wage growth rose by 3.0%. Wages have grown at or above 3.0% for 15 straight months, including September’s increased revision.

“The labor force participation rate climbed to 63.3%, the highest since August 2013.

This is how Trump announced it…at 8:52 a.m., not at 9:30 a.m., and thereby wadding a lot of panties in DC:

He’s right. Jobs are not only up this month but the number last month has been revised up sharply for both August and September. Wage growth is above inflation. Unemployment is at record lows. Unemployment for black Americans is also at a record low.

In short, there is no bad news here and none of the numbers indicate bad news to come.

Even this tweet was not free of controversy as people who are convinced that they are actually smart started chiming in:

But #journalisming eventually won out and she decided that she might have to actually talk to someone rather than just rely on that hardcore math she took while getting that journalism degree.

The real lesson here, though, is how useless economists are in predicting the performance of an actual economy, rather than some model they’ve created (the same critique applies to “climate scientists and phrenologists and necromancers). Keep in mind these are the people who we are supposed to listen to:

Bank of America–25,000 jobs, 3.5% unemployment, 3% annual wage growth
Bloomberg Economics–70,000 jobs, 3.6% unemployment, 3% annual wage growth
Wells Fargo–75,000 jobs, 3.6% unemployment, 2.9% annual wage growth
Jefferies–95,000 jobs, 3.6% unemployment, 2.9% annual wage growth
NatWest Markets–105,000 jobs, 3.5% unemployment, 2.9% annual wage growth
Morgan Stanley–110,000 jobs, 3.5% unemployment, 3% annual wage growth

While unemployment and wage growth were not very far off, those are also numbers which are produced by federal statistical agencies and can be verified by various commercial sources. Where the numbers approach fanciful is in the realm of job creation. Making these numbers worse are the supporting statements by the forecasters indicating that they really don’t have much of a clue as to what is happening. For instance:

The GM walkout “could be a drag of as much as 150,000 on payrolls in October as the strike ran through the BLS survey period,” U.S. economist Michelle Meyer wrote in her preview. “We see risk for private payrolls to decline outright in October and make it more difficult to determine if the slowdown is attributable to the strike or fundamental weakening in the labor market.”

“The economy is slowing in the back half of the year, and this is already extracting a toll on the pace of hiring,” economists Carl Riccadonna and Yelena Shulyatyeva wrote in a report. “Elevated economic anxiety is dragging down the pace of job creation as businesses assume an increasingly defensive posture toward both hiring and capital spending. We expect this trend to continue in the current quarter.”

No one knows what the future holds. Not economists and not pollsters. But if this economy continues for another 12 months as it has for the last 12, then it will be damned hard to defeat President Trump in November 2020. Already, the voters are nauseated at the choices the Democrats have offered and when given a choice between a damned good status quo and shelling out $52 Trillion to pay for Medicare-For-All, my suspicion is that they are going for the sure thing of the status quo.

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