|Sunday, 10 January 2010 at 21h 29m 5s
Another picture of the employment situation
The above is what is called the "Employment to Population Ratio." Divide the number of employed
persons by the total population and you get a number less than 1, with 0.9 (or 90%) meaning 10% of
the population is not in the recorded labor force for whatever reason (students, children, senior
citizens, unemployed, immigrant labor, black market citizens). Notice that the ratio drives upward
beginning in the mid-1970s.
This occurred because more women were continuing to enter into the workforce and less becoming stay
at home moms which occurred more often in the the 1950's. Notice that the ratio is now at the same
point as the peak in 1972 -- and close to the peak of 1954, when the labor force was more affected
by stay at home moms.
I can't say what this means because I don't know. But it does suggest that the employment picture
has shifted to a lower level where good jobs will be more difficult to come by for at least another
3 or 4 years, assuming the past swings are any measure of the future. Are we on the precipice of a
catastrophic fall in economic well-being? Are we in for a long period of malaise? Or are we on the
verge of a dynamic upturn fueled by some driving social or technological change?
I don't think anyone knows for sure. We know that we are or will be approaching resource
limitations. In the past the yardsticks of these limitations have moved in response to human
ingenuity and luck, so who is to say this will not happen again. But in my humble opinion, I think
we are finally up against too tall of an order this time, unless we begin to use less and become
more efficient and self-sustaining.
|Sunday, 27 December 2009 at 17h 14m 31s
The economy thru the eyes of Wall Street
|Saturday, 19 December 2009 at 19h 50m 30s
Why we are in a depression
Click here for the read over at ritholz.com by Edward Harrison.
Mr. Harrison also blogs over at Creditwritedowns.com
|Wednesday, 9 December 2009 at 1h 8m 30s
Yea, I know
I realize that I have not been writing or commenting on this blog for the last 3 months. I could
say that it is because I've been busy, which is only partially true. The real answer is that I've
just not desired paying attention to the minutia and have preferred practicing guitar, taking walks
outside in the park, and reading a lot of books.
In a sense too, I am a bit disappointed at our system of government's inability to actually address,
or even understand the current crisis. The experts look at numbers and think they understand the
real society around them. Unemployment went down, the stock market is up, the average selling price
of a new home has stabilized for a few months. Woo-hoo, good times are around the corner.
Here's a number. It's called the average work hours per week by the paid per hour work force.
Since the early 1960's this number has dropped from 38 per week, to below 34 since 2001. Don't you
think the trend over 45 years is telling you something about what is happening more than a recent
trend over a few months, or a few years? All along the above graph, there are a number of intervals
where the graph increased upwards, nevertheless the trend was still down.
The Big Picture? This crisis is going to bankrupt the way government disperses social services, and
it will happen by forcing a plethora of cuts to the budget. The system of taxation will need to be
completely overhauled at the state and federal level, but this will not happen in time because of
the huge political risks at stake. It is easier to force draconian cuts to the social system then
it is to get corrupt, self-serving politicians to actually make long-term decisions in the best
interest of the people.
Unless the people organize and force the elites to change, the elites will take the path of least
resistance and convince themselves that they have no other choice because they are completely
oblivious about their own contribution to the problem.
|Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 0h 58m 25s
Even Europeans laugh
|Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 20h 35m 22s
Click here for an animated display of the unemployment rate by county as it develops from 2007
to September 2009.
What strikes me is the huge increase across the entire United States over the last 4 months, as the
multimedia display at the link above shows. As I have said before, this
recession is transformational.
We have crossed the threshold of exporting jobs in the name of cutting costs for investment profits,
to the point that we have damaged the coherence of the the regional networks that govern the
economy. For example, California is more geared for trade with China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India,
and South America than California is with Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. These
investment profits earned by this reallocation of resources accrues to a very small fraction of the
general population, and the surplus does not re-invest in the local economy but gathers into
brokerage accounts to fuel further profit making investment "opportunities" in the foreign markets.
But don't worry. United Way and charitable donations will fill the gap, right?
|Wednesday, 12 August 2009 at 15h 31m 33s
Harriet Miers, The Bush Nominee for the Supreme Court
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, and the people upon whom they choose to
give great responsibility.
From Talking Points Memo's David
Kurtz at 08.12.09 -- 8:34AM
If you were White House counsel and someone from the White House political shop approached you, just
before the midterm elections, about intervening with the Justice Department to help out a
congressman from your party under criminal investigation, you would:
(a) Fire his ass on the spot.
(b) Drop kick him from the West Wing to a closet-sized office in the EEOB, never to be heard from
(c) Send a memo to everyone in the political office warning against any contacts with DOJ officials
regarding any ongoing investigations.
(d) Get the deputy attorney general on the phone and see whether you could get him to publicly
exonerate the congressman, then dutifully email back the political operative to report on how the
If you answered (d), you're qualified to be nominated to the Supreme Court.
In other words, Bush wanted someone who would willingly be a tool on behalf of a hidden agenda to
become a lifetime member of the Supreme Court making decisions about the Constitution and the Laws
of your freedoms and the Nation.
|Wednesday, 12 August 2009 at 0h 21m 5s
The email filled with lies
I will never understand why people trust anonymously sent chain emails for any type of validity.
But the "stupids" apparently do. Either that, or the political thugs and opportunists seem to be
well versed about the content of such emails. Is this a coincidence?
The recent banter of lies about what the Health care reform legislation will do seems to stem from
the content of a recent chain email that was more than 40 pages long. The St. Petersburg Times has a pulitzer prize winning site called PolitFact that
analyzed the facts.
Also The Kaiser Family
Foundation compares the legislation current passed by out by the various Congressional Committees.
Jenny Tolbert is an independent health care analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan
foundation that studies health care reform. She is quoted in the Polifact article above. Here's what
Jenny Tolbert says about the chain email :
"It's awful," she said. "It's flat-out, blatant lies. It's unbelievable to me how they can claim to
reference the legislation and then make claims that are blatantly false."
|Tuesday, 11 August 2009 at 17h 17m 53s
So you think we are in the middle of a recovery and a bull market
Click here for 10
informative bullets that factually contradict that notion.
Here's the first three:
Before you join the euphoria, please consider these 10 sharp bubble-popping pins:
1. Structural unemployment is skyrocketing. Job Losses Moderate:
But structural unemployment worsened. The number of people who've been out of work longer than
six months soared by a record 584,000 to 5 million, accounting for more than a third of all
unemployment for the first time on record.
"Structural" is a polite way of saying there won't be any jobs for the long-term unemployed this
year, next year, or the year after that.
2. The jobless rate declined because the work force shrank. This is typical smoke-and-mirrors
statistics, courtesy of your Federal government: as people lose extended unemployment benefits, they
are classified as "discouraged" and are no longer counted in the "headline" unemployment number.
Unemployment fell by 267,000 to 14.5 million, while employment fell by 155,000. The labor force
declined by 422,000, which means the jobless rate declined because people dropped out of the work
force, not because they got jobs. The employment-participation rate fell from 65.7% to 65.5%.
3. Everyone seems to have forgotten we need to create 250,000 jobs a month just to stay even with
population growth. So while "only" 250,000 jobs were lost last month--never mind a big chunk of
employment was linked to the "cash for clunkers" giveaway--that means we're still 500,000 jobs short
of a return to a rising employment scenario.
[SOURCE: Charles Hugh
Smith | oftwominds.com | 10 August 2009]
|Tuesday, 4 August 2009 at 20h 29m 42s
Unemployment by state
~hattip to Barry Ritholz.
Most of the nation has more than 7% U2 unemployment (black and purple). The most broad measure of
unemployment (including long-term unemployment and part-time workers unable to get full time) is
probably more than 11% in all those states.
This data also doesn't measure the disparity within each state between urban and rural regions.