Tuesday, February 10

Is it really a Catastrophe?

President Barack Obama has painted an extraordinarily bleak picture of America’s future if Congress fails to move quickly to pass stimulus legislation, warning that inaction “could turn a crisis into a catastrophe.” He's also said that he's inherited "the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression."

Back in October, Bush used the same type of language to convince us that if government intervention didn't move swiftly our financial world would come crashing down around us. But let's look at the facts.

As bad as the economic numbers are, the unemployment figures have not reached the levels of the early 1980s, let alone the 1930s---yet. A total of 598,000 payroll jobs vanished in January---the most in nearly 35 years---and the unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 from 7.2 percent the month before. The most recent high was 7.8 percent in June 1992.

The jobless rate was 10.8 percent in November and December 1982. Unemployment in the Great Depression ranged for several years from 25 percent to close to 30 percent.

Bad? Maybe. Catastrophic? No.

4 comments:

Elena said...

As someone who teaches in Elkhart, the site of yesterday's town hall, with a county unemployment rate of 15.3% and a city unemployment rate of 17%, it's feeling pretty catastrophic around here.

I'd rather not see the rest of the country get to this point.

Jeff said...

It's not today's national unemployment rate that's the concern (though still bad)--it's the dramatic pace of unemployment and the economic indicators telling us that much worse is coming. Normal recessions are like rolling down a steep hill. This one is like falling off a cliff. Do you really want to wait until we reach 15 or 20% unemployment before the government acts?

Natalie said...

Elena:

There is no question that Elkhart has been hit very hard about today's economic conditions. But how are the items in the stimulus bill going to help your family and friends in Elkhart:

$500 per worker and $1,000 per couple including illegal aliens since social security numbers can’t be checked

$335 million for STDs

$4.19 billion in “neighborhood stabilization activities” such as ACORN

$200 million for plug-in car stations

$400 million for climate change research

$600 million for grants for diesel emission reduction

$650 million for “alternative energy technologies”

$2.7 billion would go toward embryonic stem cell experimentation

$75 million for smoking cessation

$246 million over 11 years for investors in big budget movie projects

$50 billion to the National Endowment for the Art

$150 million for bees called “honey insurance”

$20 million for “fish barriers”

source: http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=42745

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/01/29/senate-republicans-warn-stimulus-rebates-pay-illegal-immigrants/

TCC said...

I've heard statements made that the last time the numbers were this low regarding unemployment it was in 1992. Hmmm...that's when I graduated college. I do remember that I wasn't that excited to have a Biology degree and get a job at Macy's for minimum wage. But I did it and we made it.

I admit I don't fully understand the nitty gritty details of the market. I also don't have a lot of faith that those responsible will actually be the ones who pay the price to fix it. Our retirement is definitely taking a major hit and yet we still put money away each and every month.

 

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