The 20th century Baby Boom was one of the most powerful demographic events in the history of the United States. We've created a series of charts to show seven age cohorts of the employed population from 1948 to the present. What we see is essentially the "Boomer Bulge" in employment across time. Those born between 1946 and 1964 continue to grow the employment of the two oldest cohorts. It will be interesting to see how long those two trends continue.
The latest JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary), with data through August, is now available. The time frame is quite limited compared to the main BLS data series in the monthly employment report, many of which go back to 1948, and the enormously popular Nonfarm Employment (PAYEMS) series goes back to 1939, while the BLS began tracking JOLTS in December 2000. Nevertheless, there are some clear JOLTS correlations with the most recent business cycle trends.
We've updated our monthly workforce analysis to include last week's Employment Report for September. The unemployment rate fell to 4.2%, and the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) came in at -33K.
Note: This commentary has been updated with the latest numbers from last week's Employment Report. This is not the scenario that would have been envisioned a generation ago for the "Golden Years" of retirement. Consider: Today nearly one in three of the 65-69 cohort and about one in five of the 70-74 cohort are in the labor force.
The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for September came in at 103.0, down 2.3 from the previous month. The index is at the 90th percentile in this series. Today's number came in below the Investing.com forecast of 105.1.
The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is a simple computation: You take the Civilian Labor Force (people age 16 and over employed or seeking employment) and divide it by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population (those 16 and over not in the military and or committed to an institution). The result is the participation rate expressed as a percent.
The Department of Labor has monthly data on employment by industry categories reaching back to 1939. At the highest level, all jobs are categorized in either Service-Providing Industries or Goods Producing Industries. The adjacent chart illustrates the ratio of the two since 1939. The latest monthly employment report showed a loss of 33K nonfarm payrolls, which consists of a loss of 42K service-providing jobs and a gain of 9K goods-producing jobs. This is most likely attributable to job losses at food and drink places due to the recent hurricanes.
What are the long-term trends for multiple jobholders in the US? The Bureau of Labor Statistics has two decades of historical data to enlighten us on that topic, courtesy of Table A-16 in the monthly Current Population Survey. At present, multiple jobholders account for just 4.8 percent of civilian employment. The survey captures data for four subcategories of the multi-job workforce, the current relative sizes of which we've illustrated in a pie chart.
Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.
This commentary has been updated to include today's release of Nonfarm Employment. September's 33K decrease in total nonfarm payrolls was accompanied by a combined 38K downward revision for July and August. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.2%. The Investing.com consensus was for 90K new jobs and the unemployment rate to remain at 4.4%. The striking decline in employment is most likely a result of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.