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Jobs Report: Multiple Full-Time Job Holders Reaches All-Time High

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According to the BLS, the economy added 315k jobs in August, which was on par with analyst estimates. While the job numbers continue to appear strong, a deeper look into the data shows some trends that may indicate weakness.

Figure: 1 Change by sector

The number of people with multiple jobs has reached a post-pandemic high at 7.7M or 4.9% of the labor force. This is down from pre-Covid levels but is increasing rapidly. Workers require more jobs to keep up with inflation.

Figure: 2 Multiple Full-Time Employees

An even bigger signal of the challenging economy is the number of people who have multiple full-time jobs. These are individuals who are working 80 hours a week at two different jobs to make ends meet. This figure has reached 440k workers, which is an all-time high! If the economy is so strong, why is there a record number of people working multiple full-time jobs?

Figure: 3 Multiple Full-Time Employees

Breaking Down the Numbers

Another area of weakness is the current value compared to recent history. All 8 categories are below the 12-month average as shown below.

Figure: 4 Current vs TTM

The table below shows a detailed breakdown of the numbers. The aggregate 12-month average is 486k, which is well above the most recent month.

Key takeaways:

    • Leisure and Hospitality was below the 3 and 12-month averages by a wide margin
        • The current value was only 28% of the TTM
    • The Federal government was the only category that lost jobs
    • Construction is nearly 40% below the 12-month average

Figure: 5 Labor Market Detail

Revisions

While the headline number gets all the attention, the number is typically revised several times. Revisions over the last three months were net negative again for the third month. This is a big change from a few months ago. The 12-month average revision is +115k vs a 3-month average revision of -28.3k.

This means the more recent job numbers are weaker than the initial headline announcement.

Figure: 6 Revisions

Historical Perspective

The chart below shows data going back to 1955. The Covid recession can be seen as the greatest job market loss ever.

The current unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% which is the highest since February but well below the historical average. It was 3.5% last month.

Figure: 7 Historical Labor Market

The labor force participation also increased this month, rising from 62.1% to 62.4%. It still sits a full percentage point below the pre-Covid levels of 63.4% and well below the 66% pre-Financial Crisis.

Figure: 8 Labor Market Distribution

What it means for Gold and Silver

The headline job numbers continue to give Fed ammunition to talk about the “strong economy”. While 315k is a strong(ish) number, the details paint a bit weaker picture. Having multiple full-time job holders at all-time highs and recent revisions being negative, should give people pause.

The Fed is on its warpath though and will continue to hike rates and shrink the balance sheet, using the strong employment numbers as support. They are moving far too fast to realize the damage they are inflicting on the economy. By the time the wreckage starts to manifest the Fed will have to reverse course extremely quickly. Unfortunately, by that point, it will likely be too late.

When the Fed tries to re-inflate the everything bubble, it will end up destroying the dollar. Gold and silver will offer the best protection.

Data Source: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PAYEMS and also series CIVPART

Data Updated: Monthly on first Friday of the month

Last Updated: Aug 2022

Interactive charts and graphs can always be found on the Exploring Finance dashboard: https://exploringfinance.shinyapps.io/USDebt/

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