Friday Five December 2

Here are my Friday Five for December 2, 2016.

Two Texas lawyers remind us to not eat our weed if we get caught by the police possessing 2 or less ounces. Seriously – these guys have way too much time on their hands.

Speaking of someone who has too much time on their hands, this journalist compiled Trumps campaign promises – all 282 of them. One wonders what possesses a person to compile such a list.

I usually don’t delve into romance on this site – preferring to “keep it clean” and all – but this is one wedding that I’ll soon not forget. Neither will you.

The white race isn’t fairing so well in the US. The Wall Street Journal reports that more white people are dying than are being born in 17 out of our 50 states. In 2004, that number was just four. This is bound to change the political dynamic in the US.

Finally, the economy grew at a good 3.2% pace in Q3 of this year (2016). We need about 2% growth just to keep up with population growth. So anything over 3.0% is a good sign that our economy is strengthening. Yet the monthly jobs report that was just released continues to show that our workforce is constricting. While there were 178,000 new jobs created, 200,000 left the work force, leading to a net loss of 22,000 workers. The U3 unemployed number is 4.6%, dropping from 4.9%. No doubt the Administration will tout this as a huge “win”. But the U6 number is the better number to use for measuring unemployment since that number includes those who are employed part-time but want to work full time and those have quit looking for work because they can’t find a job but would work if they could find one. The U6 number is at 9.3%.

The unemployment number is a percentage of those who are available in the population to work. When people leave the workforce, they shrink the available pool of labor from which industry hires, so we always need to consider the size of the workforce when talking about the unemployment number. This is called the Labor Force Participation Rate. This rate dropped an entire 1/10th to 62.7%. This means that of those who could work, only 62.7% are working either full or part time. I have written that this drop in the labor force participation rate is partly due to Boomers retiring. Yet, when you run the raw numbers (2nd paragraph), you’ll find that we could be employing an additional 94M people in this country, which would significantly change our economy and country.

The bottom line is that our economy continues to be struggling to move ahead. We see signs of growth and progress, but at nearly every turn, we also see signs of dysfunction and mere survival rather than thriving. It remains to be seen how Trump’s business experience and equating “greatness” with “economic success” will effect our overall economy. But I’m happy to give a pro-business guy a shot at running this country. For too long, we’ve had lawyers and experienced politicians at the helm. It’s time for new blood and change.

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