Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Real Jobs Picture Clarified, Not Obfuscated By Bad Numbers

As Blogger continues to gulp down my labor-intensive posts, I'd like to offer this quickie that I think is incredibly important, and hopefully not tasty enough to tempt the Blog monster this late in the evening.

Please click in the graphic as you follow the logic in the discussion below.

Who said graphs wouldn't be fun? (I know I certainly never told my students that.)

April 7, 2012

Reactions and Overreactions

Hmm. I see that some people are accusing me of overreacting to one bad month of job news. Um, no. What has actually been happening is that conventional wisdom overreacted to four months of good(ish) news, and the March numbers were a useful corrective.

Look at my current favorite measure of the labor market, the employment-population ratio of prime-age Americans — employment rather than unemployment so as to avoid distortion by people dropping out, prime-age to avoid demographic issues as the population ages. Here it is:

What has been happening lately is that conventional wisdom, including among people with influence over policy, has taken that little uptick at the right as evidence that it’s time to sound the all-clear, time to call off efforts to boost the economy and worry about inflation instead. This was a terrible misjudgment: we’ve barely made a dent in the employment decline that followed the financial crisis, and are still a very long way from full recovery....

And you can’t even count on the trend continuing to be favorable — which was the message of last month’s numbers.

I was for more stimulus before those numbers came out; I’m still for more stimulus now. The only difference is that it might be a bit easier today than two days ago to argue against unjustified complacency.


BuelahMan said...

But what do those numbers mean? Is the small uptick the fact that educated people, folks like me who have invested much of their lives (and let us not forget money invested) in pursuit of the lie called the American Nightmare are now forced to take "employment" at minimum wage, just to try to feed our families (which is not enough)?

Of that 75% employed, how many are vastly UNDERemployed and being forced into serfdom?

There are still 25% unemployed, but I bet the number of underemployed workers is another 25% or more.

So, if my estimate is correct, then 50% are working. And I bet most of those are low wage folks that never invested a dime to pursue an education, much less try to achieve what the nightmare will never provide.

What? Are 25% of the people actually doing fairly well? I bet that number is a lie, too.

Suzan said...

Those are the ruling questions of our age, B.

Yet we have to struggle to have even a too-mild recovery not ridiculed and used to promote the steal-the-riches campaign by the forces of national fraud.

Keep writing about it.


And don't quit!

Don't quit!

Never stop protesting the madness.

Love ya and Happy Spring Fling!