No Labels states “five facts” about the economy in a piece at RealClearPolicy:
- According to POLITICO the nation’s economy added 312,000 jobs in December 2018 alone.
- On top of this, the construction industry is facing a critical worker shortage, highlighting the continued real estate development boom.
- In December 2018 average hourly earnings had risen 3.2 percent from the year before and 0.1 percent from the month before.
- The national housing market slowed in 2018 because of record prices and high mortgage rates, a trend that could continue in the new year.
- While the stock market has been volatile over the past few weeks many experts believe it is not an excellent predictor of the economy in the short term.
Here are my five alternative facts in response:
- We don’t really know whether jobs were lost, gained, or their number stayed the same. The actual number of jobs counted in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Employment Situation report is just a fraction of the reported number. More of the jobs reported are derived from the broken business birth/death ratio than are actually counted.
- Not merely in construction but in many other sectors of the economy there are critical labor shortages because the pipeline is broken. It used to be that laborers became apprentices became journeymen became master craftsmen. The “laborer” level jobs are now being filled by immigrants (legal or illegal) who are less likely to rise to “master” status.
- If Jamie Dimon’s wages rise high enough, it will cause the average wage to rise noticeably. With wages as unequal as they are today “average hourly earnings” has become next to meaningless.
- In my neighborhood houses that have been on the market for a year or more with too high an asking price are being withdrawn from the market. In every block of my neighborhood there is at least one unoccupied house.
- 15% of the stocks that make up the DJIA are technology stocks of companies whose total employment accounts for just one or two percent of total employment. Another 15% are financial company stocks that represent a similarly small proportion of the actual economy. How good a predictor could the DJIA be?