What Happened To The ‘Bring Everything Back’ Function?

The good news, such that it might be, is that the BLS – using data from the Census Bureau – believes that the American population is slowing down. According to the latest Civilian Non-institutional population estimates for January 2021, published alongside the current payroll report, the count was adjusted downward by around 400,000 consistent with the same kind and level revisions of the prior couple of years.

Demographic trends like this aren’t normally taken for a positive. But with fewer new Americans, the struggling economy won’t have to create as many new jobs to keep them gainfully employed and out of the streets. As it is now, forgetting the 10 million who lost jobs last year and didn’t get them back, as politicians and Economists alike tend to do, the labor market isn’t even keeping up with reduced population expansion.

The tally of payrolls that didn’t happen is creeping upward so as to become as much of a depressing prospect as the ongoing count for those which have yet to come back. Assuming a very conservative rate of +163,000, the average from the eighteen months of slowing growth previous to COVID, which would still be just short of enough to absorb new potential entrants anyway, going back to February last year there’s at the very least 1.8 million jobs which never had the chance.

A more realistic number would be above 2 million.

Closing in on a year since the shock, there are now three labor pools to consider inside all these employment numbers; the two we’ve been expressing since it started – 1. Those who still otherwise had jobs but couldn’t work at them, and have long since gone back; 2. Those who lost jobs and have no work to go back to – and now a third that includes the several million who would’ve become employed workers except no work materialized from which to engage them.

It all adds up to an entirely too familiar situation – job “growth” in name only. In truth, the economy is falling farther and further behind.

The latest payrolls estimate for the month of January 2021 ended up being on the plus side, if barely, which, given the totality of the current situation, doesn’t really matter. The headline statistical change was +49,000 following a downwardly revised -227,000 in December. Private payrolls increased by just 6,000.

A small plus, a decent minus, something in between, these are all the same because the dominant factor right now is time. Eleven months in and we’ve experienced a condition for workers, particularly at the lower ends of the income scale, substantially worse than the Great “Recession.” And with the last seven those at increasingly decelerating gains, the economy overall appears stuck here no matter what happens.

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Disclosure: This material has been distributed for informational purposes only. It is the opinion of the author and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any ...

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