Reversion To 10 Year Average Labor Force Participation Rate Implies 11.8% Unemployment Rate

Tyler Durden's picture

The only reason for the decline in the unemployment rate to 9.5% was yet another decline in the labor force participation rate, which according to the BLS dropped another 652k people in the month of June. This resulted in a labor force to the civilian non-institutional population ratio of 64.7%: the second lowest number in decades of data, and only better than December 2009, when this number was 64.6%. The problem with this is that it badly underestimates the split between those who are marginally attached and those 14,623 who were formally unemployed in June. As the chart below shows, the double dip in the labor force participation is now very much pronounced.

What this chart implies is that if there was a mean reversion to the last 10 year labor force participation average rate of 66.2%, there should be another 3.5 million jobless added to the 14.6 million tally. And as this differential is the easiest thing in the world for the BLS to fudge, adding the two and dividing by the labor force of 153,74, we get an unemployment rate of 11.8%, leaving aside all other such fudge factors are government hiring, temporary workers, birth death, etc. 9.5% or 11.8% - which one is more realistic for an economy finally realizing it never left the second great depression, you decide.

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Boilermaker's picture

Damn it!  Swallow the pill and stop hiding it under your tongue!  9.5%, got it?!  9.5%!

Stop hiding behind facts and get with the program!

KJ's picture

Thanks for the recommendation. I overlooked it on the homepage, but definitely a good read.

Obnoxio's picture

Good article. I think Andy Grove has it right, the trade war with China should start now. It is not just manufacturing but the whole skill chain and entire industries that have been outsourced. On current trends only PHDs and minimum wage jobs will stay in the US. Incomes in China may catch up in 100 years or so at which point manufacturing may make a comeback just no-one alive now in th US will benefit.

You Cant Handle the Truth's picture

Agreed.  Excellent read.  Thank you for it.

Der Kommissar's picture

Excellent analysis.  10% tariffs on imported goods/outsourced labor can

save this country if implemented fast.

Gully Foyle's picture

"civilian non-institutional population of 64.7%"

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Prison Labor: Outsourcing's "Best Kept Secret"

A Nation Incarcerated: The American Gaol Crisis

The British game show Quite Interesting hosted by the comedic actor Stephen Fry tackles the subject of the American gaol (the Oxford Dictionary spelling of jail) population. As always, the erudite QI uncovers some statistical gems demonstrating how insane our criminal justice policy is.

* The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world with nearly one percent of the US population behind bars. One in ninety-nine adults are behind bars. No society in history has imprisoned more of its citizens than the United States.

* There are more black 17 year olds in prison than in college.

* As a percentage of the population, we imprison more than twice as much as South Africa. Our rate of incarceration is more than three times higher than Iran's and more than six times higher than China's.

* As Stephen Fry notes, prisons are a big business going as far as suggesting that we have re-invented the slave trade. Perhaps, that's a bit much but it's also hard to ignore that prisons are a big business in the United States. While it is illegal to import manufactured goods made by forced prison labor, it's not illegal to produce them domestically. Take the Federal Prison Industries (FPI), a self-sustaining, self-funded corporation established in 1934 by executive order, who employs more than 30,000 inmates in over 100 FPI factories in prisons across the US. UNICOR's "employees" have grown by a third in the last decade. FPI, who manufactures under the trade name UNICOR, manufactures products such as office furniture, clothing, beds and linens, electronics equipment, and eyewear. It also offers services including data entry, bulk mailing, laundry services, recycling, and refurbishing of vehicle components. Twenty-one percent of US manufactured office furniture is produced by prison labor.

* Minimum estimate of annual value of prison and jail industrial output exceeded $2 billion dollars in 2006 with FPI accounting for over a quarter of that amount. In 2009, FPI reported sales of $885 million. The minimum wage paid at a UNICOR plants is $0.23 an hour. By way of comparison, the minimum wage paid in Haiti is $0.30 an hour while the average hourly earnings of a non-prisoner U.S. worker making office furniture: $13.04.

* Nevada pays its prison work force $0.13 an hour. Georgia and Texas do not pay a wage at all.

Here are some other disturbing facts:

* The United States has just over four percent of the world's population, but over twenty-five percent of the world's prison population.

* The People's Republic of China ranks second with 1.5 million inmates, while having four times the population, thus having only about 18% of the US incarceration rate.

* On a per capita basis, the United States has the highest prison population rate in the world with 756 per 100,000 of the national population behind bars We are followed by Russia (629), Rwanda (604), St Kitts & Nevis (588), Cuba (c.531), U.S. Virgin Is. (512), British Virgin Is. (488), Palau (478), Belarus (468), Belize (455), Bahamas (422), Georgia (415), American Samoa (410), Grenada (408) and Anguilla (401).

* According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS): "In 2008, over 7.3 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at yearend — 3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 31 adults.

* The country's prison population topped 2 million inmates for the first time in history on June 30, 2002 meaning that the US prison population has grown by nearly 50% in just eight years. At year end 2008, the total incarcerated population equaled 2,424,279 inmates.

* The majority (62.6%) of these inmates were held in state or federal correctional facilities. Another 32.4% of these inmates were held in local jails.

* Seventy percent of prisoners in the United States are non-whites even though non-whites make up only about a third of the US populations. One out of every 20 black males over the age of 18 is in prison. That compares to one in 180 white males over the age of 18. In five states, between one in 13 and one in 14 black men is in prison. One in nine African-American males will spend at least one year in jail over the course of their lifetimes.

* Most drug offenders are white - five times as many whites use drugs as blacks -yet blacks comprise the great majority of drug offenders sent to prison. Of the 253,300 state prison inmates serving time for drug offenses at yearend 2005, 113,500 (44.8%) were black, 51,100 (20.2%) were Hispanic, and 72,300 (28.5%) were white.

* The non-violent prison population, alone, is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska.

* According to the American Corrections Association, the average daily cost per state prison inmate per day in the US is $67.55. State prisons held 253,300 inmates for drug offenses in 2005. That means states spent approximately $17,110,415 per day to imprison drug offenders, or $6,245,301,475 per year.

* States spent $42.89 billion on prison and corrections in 2005 alone. To compare, states only spent $24.69 billion on public assistance. From 1984 to 1996, California built 21 new prisons, and only one new university.

* Between 1979 and 2000, the number of additional prisons ranged from 19 prisons in Missouri to 120 prisons in Texas. The growth in Texas equates to an extraordinary average annual increase of 5.7 additional prisons per year over the 21-year period. Over this time frame, Texas has increased its prisons by a stunning 706 percent.

You can learn more at the Prison Policy Initiative and at Drug War Facts.

It's hard not to disagree with the Anglo-Irish comedian Jimmy Carr that a prison policy based on a baseball metaphor is "bizarre." Frankly, it is poor public policy.

Washington state passed the first three strikes law in 1993. Anyone convicted of three separate violent felonies must be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. The California followed a year late in 1994 enacting a three strikes law that mandates a sentence of 25 years to life for a third felony conviction. Unlike Washington, the California law counts nonviolent felonies, such as burglary and theft, as "strike" offenses. The popularity of the three strikes law in California has been pronounced. By 2001 over 50,000 criminals had been sentenced under the three strikes law in California, far more than any other state, with almost one-quarter of the inmates facing a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Back in March 2009, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, a state that in 1871 declared its prison population to be "slaves of the state", proposed a "top-to-bottom review" by Congress of the nation's criminal-justice system with an eye toward reducing the growing prison population.

Webb's office says the panel should take a sweeping look at the way the nation controls crime, metes out punishment and returns felons to society.

A background document says of the commission: "Its task will be to propose concrete, wide-ranging reforms to responsibly reduce the overall incarceration rate; improve federal and local responses to international and domestic gang violence; restructure our approach to drug policy; improve the treatment of mental illness; improve prison administration, and establish a system for reintegrating ex-offenders."

Webb has been speaking out on the prison issue for over a year, warning of the economic and social consequences of housing a growing population of criminals.

We talk about human rights abroad and condemn regimes from North Korea to Iran but are we any better? This is human rights issue and it needs to be pushed forward. When we are being mocked by a British game show, albeit a very cerebral one, things have really gotten out of hand.


Companies that buy bad debts frequently seek warrants to arrest Minnesota debtors. More than 1,600 other creditors also used the process, in most cases just once.*

Warrant cases

Firm Location Type of firm 2005-2009

Unifund CCR Partners Cincinnati Debt buyer 247

Portfolio Recovery Assoc. Norfolk, Va. Debt buyer 130

Debt Equities LLC Golden Valley Debt buyer 92

Capital One Bank McLean, Va. Credit card issuer 53

Lakes Gas Co. Forest Lake Propane supplier 41

* The Star Tribune has used warrants to collect four debts since 2005.

Source: Minnesota Judicial Branch data, analysis by Star Tribune

Jail for Unpaid Debt a Reality in Six States (Strategic Default Pushback Watch)

On Friday, I put up a short post alerting readers to a PR campaign apparently just getting off the runway to impress the average American of his moral obligation to honor his debts. The rise of strategic defaults (and perhaps even more important, the increasingly positive coverage it is getting in the media and the blogosphere) is generating heartburn among the banking classes.

One of the tidbits we pointed to was a YouTube snippet of Peterson Institute spokesman David Walker speaking fondly of debtors’ prison and the need to “hold people accountable when they do imprudent things.” A couple of readers complained that I was being unfair, while others said they’d be happy to see the return of debtors’ prison as long at the executives at the TBTF banks were at the head of the queue.

Be careful what you wish for. Reader bill clued us in that people who fall behind on debt payments are being incarcerated in six states. While this is generally short-term, it is nevertheless a troubling development, since these are all involve private contracts and look to be an abuse of the court system. From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune:

It’s not a crime to owe money, and debtors’ prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.

Not every warrant results in an arrest, but in Minnesota many debtors spend up to 48 hours in cells with criminals. Consumer attorneys say such arrests are increasing in many states, including Arkansas, Arizona and Washington, driven by a bad economy, high consumer debt and a growing industry that buys bad debts and employs every means available to collect.

Whether a debtor is locked up depends largely on where the person lives, because enforcement is inconsistent from state to state, and even county to county.

In Illinois and southwest Indiana, some judges jail debtors for missing court-ordered debt payments. In extreme cases, people stay in jail until they raise a minimum payment. In January, a judge sentenced a Kenney, Ill., man “to indefinite incarceration” until he came up with $300 toward a lumber yard debt.

“The law enforcement system has unwittingly become a tool of the debt collectors,” said Michael Kinkley, an attorney in Spokane, Wash., who has represented arrested debtors. “The debt collectors are abusing the system and intimidating people, and law enforcement is going along with it.”

How often are debtors arrested across the country? No one can say. No national statistics are kept, and the practice is largely unnoticed outside legal circles. “My suspicion is the debt collection industry does not want the world to know these arrests are happening, because the practice would be widely condemned,” said Robert Hobbs, deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center in Boston.

Debt collectors defend the practice, saying phone calls, letters and legal actions aren’t always enough to get people to pay…..

Taxpayers foot the bill for arresting and jailing debtors. In many cases, Minnesota judges set bail at the amount owed.

In Minnesota, judges have issued arrest warrants for people who owe as little as $85 — less than half the cost of housing an inmate overnight. Debtors targeted for arrest owed a median of $3,512 in 2009, up from $2,201 five years ago.

Those jailed for debts may be the least able to pay….

The laws allowing for the arrest of someone for an unpaid debt are not new.

What is new is the rise of well-funded, aggressive and centralized collection firms, in many cases run by attorneys, that buy up unpaid debt and use the courts to collect.

Three debt buyers — Unifund CCR Partners, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc. and Debt Equities LLC — accounted for 15 percent of all debt-related arrest warrants issued in Minnesota since 2005, court data show. The debt buyers also file tens of thousands of other collection actions in the state, seeking court orders to make people pay.

The debts — often five or six years old — are purchased from companies like cellphone providers and credit card issuers, and cost a few cents on the dollar. Using automated dialing equipment and teams of lawyers, the debt-buyer firms try to collect the debt, plus interest and fees. A firm aims to collect at least twice what it paid for the debt to cover costs. Anything beyond that is profit….

Todd Lansky, chief operating officer at Resurgence Financial LLC, a Northbrook, Ill.-based debt buyer, said firms like his operate within the law, which says people who ignore court orders can be arrested for contempt…

Few debtors realize they can land in jail simply for ignoring debt-collection legal matters. Debtors also may not recognize the names of companies seeking to collect old debts. Some people are contacted by three or four firms as delinquent debts are bought and sold multiple times after the original creditor writes off the account….

A year ago, Legal Aid attorneys proposed a change in state law that would have required law enforcement officials to let debtors fill out financial disclosure forms when they are apprehended rather than book them into jail. No legislator introduced the measure…

One afternoon last spring, Deborah Poplawski, 38, of Minneapolis was digging in her purse for coins to feed a downtown parking meter when she saw the flashing lights of a Minneapolis police squad car behind her. Poplawski, a restaurant cook, assumed she had parked illegally. Instead, she was headed to jail over a $250 credit card debt.

Less than a month earlier, she learned by chance from an employment counselor that she had an outstanding warrant. Debt Equities, a Golden Valley debt buyer, had sued her, but she says nobody served her with court documents. Thanks to interest and fees, Poplawski was now on the hook for $1,138….

She spent nearly 25 hours at the Hennepin County jail….

The next day, Poplawski appeared before a Hennepin County district judge. He told her to fill out the form listing her assets and bank account, and released her. Several weeks later, Debt Equities used this information to seize funds from her bank account. The firm didn’t return repeated calls seeking a comment.

“We hear every day about how there’s no money for public services,” Poplawski said. “But it seems like the collectors have found a way to get the police to do their work.”

Gwynplaine's picture
Gwynplaine (not verified) Gully Foyle Jul 2, 2010 11:58 AM

That's a good article Gully.  A bit long for the comments section.

I wanted to reply with a link to the South Park episode where Cartman says, "Repect my authoritah."  No such luck though - it must be You Tube has an unpaid royalty to Comedy Central.

Übermensch's picture

Unemployment checks are fastest way to create jobs. - Pelosi

grunion's picture

I just had to sit back and marvel...

man o' man...

Rebel's picture

Wonder what fraction of the people actually work. Seems like that would be an interesting number to know.

=(US Population - Employed People)/US Population

my guess is that if you counted all noses, and then counted noses with jobs, 40-50% of the country is not working. (Ages 0-18 typically don't work, 65-100 dont work, others choose not to work, some people want to work, but can't find jobs.)

Headbanger's picture

But hey it gives Joe Sixpack something to feel good about while he's chugging down another can of Bud as he's flippin burgers over on the grill on this July 4th weekend.

bobby02's picture

Participation is back to the level of 1985 (using the SA data). Wonder how many women were in the work force then, since they let them wear pants and everything.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

For the unemployed, this means nothing. For the employed and frightened, the "headline" number dropping will be seen as better news not because it is better, but because people wish to perceive it as better. This perception is helped by the drumbeat of the mainstream media telling us what we want to hear.

We must never forget the effect propaganda has on the (un)conscious mind. It doesn't matter that you "know" the number is bullshit. If the person doesn't wish to face reality and is hiding from themselves and all the uglies hiding under the bed, this number will be seen as "not bad" rather than "worse and going down hill".

I suggest we all spend some time reading up on propaganda and Edward Bernays, who's uncle was Sigmund Freud and who is still considered the pioneer of modern day advertising and propaganda. The psychology is often subtle and unnoticed. But it's still very powerful stuff.


Ti9ers Wood's picture

Exactly. It's all perception.

If you lose your job, and then a year later you find your family getting the boot and you start renting in the South Side working for 1/6 your previous wage, it may sound like a raw deal. Like you said, it's all perception.

Perhaps now the family is closer, working together to make it each month, looking at the little things such as the free bag of t-shirts they received from Goodwill that day or being excited over the Good Times re-runs they watch on their 13" B & W Zenith from the comfort of a dirty mattress found behind the grocery store.


ElvisDog's picture

Actually, your insight is entirely wrong. It is much more difficult pyschologically to have lost something you once had than it is to have never had it. Those who lose their jobs, homes, comfortable lifestyles will not be "excited over the Good Times reruns" they get to watch. They will be depressed, angry, and looking for someone to blame.

New_Meat's picture

Cog Dis: e.g.

and "propaganda".

- Ned

[Full Disclosure: i just front ran that purchase.  Don't feel too dirty at all; could get used to it. lmao]

PierreLegrand's picture

Wonder why you were junked you spoke the truth. Intellectually I know we are on the highway to hell but every now and again I find myself believing the happy talk. Scary stuff...I usually go and to the range to clear out the bullshit happy thoughts.


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It's very difficult for many people, including myself, to admit that we are susceptible to cognitive manipulation. This inability to see, to even admit there is something to see, is precisely why we are susceptible. The denial of our vulnerability makes us vulnerable. We are sitting ducks because we don't wish to believe we are sitting ducks, thus making us sitting ducks to the propaganda.

The propaganda instantly becomes much less effective if we simply admit we can be manipulated and take steps to mitigate the effects. As long as we allow our ego's to insist we have control, we remain out of control. This subtlety is lost on so many of us because they refuse to admit the manipulation is real and effective.

We become dogs chasing our tails all while insisting we aren't doing so. And this denial is actively encouraged by those that benefit from our denial of the manipulation, that being corporations, political parties, mainstream media and government(s).

BTW there are people who feel that my talking openly and honestly about myself and "us" is being derogatory and demeaning. Those people are usually the people most likely to be in denial and the one's who junk my comments. Please note that I always include myself in my comments. I'm not above being manipulated. But some think I'm being egotistic. Except those who think I'm being narcissistic because I talk about myself.

PierreLegrand's picture

Well said...this goes hand in hand with Huxley's Brave New World. We used to think that 1984 was our destiny...Brave New World is where we ended up.

Paper CRUSHer's picture

Agree, the primative sub-conscious mind of the human perceives reality to his/her level of logical interpretation of that subject in question but which itself is dependant on that individuals state of mind at the time.I mean showing an optical illusion or a subliminal clip to a crack junkie or drunken man would no doubt reveal some strange results to say the least.Who'd like to volunteer now?




John McCloy's picture

Nice job Tyler.

This is the precipice right here and this figure.Everything is about to sour. That unemployment number is going to scream straight up even with fiunny math. Those discouraged are going to become very motivated, scared and angry as we see the benefit checks stop rolling and and income tax refunds disappear. They are going to be hungry and scared and angry and out looking for jobs, stealing food along with protesting.
All those checks ending also means small business barely hanging on is going to cuts massive jobs or close up shop begetting more job loss with distributors and suppliers. Market collapse will see wealth destruction part two and all those union workers are headed for early emergency 401k withdrawal to stay alive. Maybe this explains the outflow onslaught. When municipal and state jobs begin from a further collapse in tax receipts it's ball game. Right now standard of living is eroding slowly.

I can also persoanlly attest that we are seeing inflation in Manhattan only since all of the money and jobs hiring is occuring here driving up rents to PreLehman prices while the rest of the economy stirs in a depression.

Oil volcano job loss will weigh also and BP will go bk because people are being slowly poisoned by the chemicals cause respiratory damage and many of these cases are being hidden from media. The Gulf will see a mass exodus and the damage will far exceed Hurrican Katrina and BP will go under.

John McCloy's picture

Very logical Mr.A.

  For the sake of refernce and velocity of money let me attempt to answer some of you questions regarding bankers vom and I will use Manhattan to exhibit in contrast to the rest of reality.

   Out of school 2 year banker/analyst with a 80k+ base and perhaps 40-120k bonus. Now they have costs such as rent which for a 1BR in downtown Manhattan would be north of $2500 monthly. This money is paid to landlords and recycled back to banks through mortgage payments. 

   Cell phone bills, utility costs, transportation cabs all the basic. Then we have consumer discretion which takes a large chunk. Expensive suits and frequent nights out on the town and dining paying exorbitant sums solely because the Manhattan economy which is a playground can sustain it based on the collection of attorneys and bankers. However most of these expenditures stay within this closed system and surrounding boroughs and the small business owners here in turn have rent to pay along with mortgages that are recycled back to banks. Since Wall Street is alive and well and about the only sector surviving based upon Fed genrousity we have seen rents rise about 40% in recent months to correlate to the new hirings. High end known brands are expanding on the isle in order to capture their ahare the discretionary spending and there you have it. The Hamptons is another mini economy and dependent on the same source of funding and that economy stays bouyant and prices begin to chase one another in that surrounding community. 

  And then we have the rest of the U.S. which is the engine which drives the entire economy. Public schools, and city jobs without funding from growing deficits. Families that have expended savings and cannot located work now that benefit checks end still have no jobs in their community because the small business in the community from diners to auto repair and construction is contingent upon the lifeblood middle class. So for the first time we have the masses going from living to near paycheck to paycheck to negative terroritory which is why defaults are rising on credit cards and mortgages. 

    They have been turning to their credit cards to make ends meet however those funds are running dry so I believe we are at the exact inflection point where the largest sum of people are going into negative terroritory and this is why I believe small business is about to fly right off a cliff leading to increased job loss and more competition for the few jobs remaining. The reason is because Wall Street only exists in one small piece of real estate in the entire nation and that is why we cannot have an economy reliant upon financial services.    When the market implodes because of something like a BP disaster, cutting off of funding by the Fed to Wall Street and the realization that Wall Street was reliant upon 401k theft, pension funds and securitizing inflated assets they have only one place to look for their money and that is one another. 

   It will be all out war to get the remaining money/assets in a deflationary environment into their coffers and massive liquidation will result.Just my thoughts but in the mean time people will be selling anything not nailed down on Ebay to stay afloat further driving down prices.

Young's picture

I hope you yanks use independance day weekend to once again stand up, now against the tyranny of the Keynes influenced political "elite"...

Ti9ers Wood's picture

How long until it becomes too obvious to everyone not keeping tabs on the details that these #s are not a true representative of the current economic situation? It seems that every new report that comes out keeps putting one more nail in the coffin so perhaps hope has been diminished to the point of complacency?

I was not around in the 70's high interest rate era or the 80's recession periods so I am always curious how it was. I would like to know from someone who has been around through all of this and know why this time it is different. Or how it is not, but rather just another passing phase. Were people running around with this "end of everything as we know it" vision as it seems exists today, or was there more confidence in the system? 

It just seems to me that there is so much more information available to the willing that it acts as a double edge sword. If you don't know how to decipher it, it can lead to false pretense. Likewise, in the case of the UE, it is the Govt. who chooses which side of the sword does the cutting.

Young's picture


Sound words friend. Also Young, still playing in the sandbox in the eightees so unfortunately I can't help you.

Ti9ers Wood's picture

I asked my Mom about our house which they bought in the Bay Area in '73. She said with their taxes rolled in, they paid $300 a month. She acted like this was alot as it took one of my fathers paychecks to cover it. When I asked how the vibe was when interest rates shot up she could not recall. God bless her, she is getting older.

No joke, they ended up paying the house off in '03, down to the last month! Guess paying that 30 yr loan off a month early ws too steep!

PierreLegrand's picture

Back then you could deduct interest from taxes. Inflation was going up so much that it was cheaper to borrow money pay the interest and get the tax deductions than not to.  We borrowed up the ass and bought everything under the sun.

New_Meat's picture

Ti9, fast read and will frighten your socks off of you.

(and no, didn't front-run this, bot several months ago)

Amity Schlaes (sp?) "The Forgotten Man"

Heavier: "Lords of Finance" and Friedman+Anna Schwartz

And Henry Morganthau (on the web), has quotes from all through the '30s.

- Ned

mephisto's picture

"Lords of Finance" is a must, must read. It covers from WW1 to the depression, it's well written and insightful. It makes me want to write an article for ZH on the relation to today, there are so many parallels.

New_Meat's picture

mephisto, please do.

  • money contraction vs. helicopter Ben
  • Smoot Hawley vs. ???
  • Scrip in the cities vs scrip in the cities
  • No FDIC vs. FDIC and moral hazard implications
  • no unemployment insurance vs. employment insurance
  • widespread private charity vs. much less so
  • lots of farmers vs. 2% farmers feed us all
  • Keynes vs. Hayeck--80 years later
  • Calvin Coolidge vs. Hoover, Roosevelt, and might I say Bush 41 and Our Dear President
  • No Euro vs. Euro
  • European recession vs. US Great Depression
  • Morgenthau ("we tried everything and it didn't work") vs. they are trying "everything" and it isn't working viz the primary topic here.

I'm looking forward to your effort!

- Ned


mephisto's picture

All fair points looking at US history but I was thinking more internationally. I'm also thinking about the years 1918-1928, rather than 1928-1934. Couple of general things I am pondering, though I'm not a Fed economist.

-For me the role of China after this crisis, as creditor to the world, is rather similar to America after WW1.

-The situation of the US is more like that of the European nations after WW1, and the choice between inflating its debt away or destroying the economy to preserve the currency.

-The fixed exchange rates embodied in the Eurozone are causing very similar problems between the different economies as the return to the gold standard did after WW1.

-After WW1 the UK voluntarily endured a deep recession as the wrong choice of currency valuation on the gold standard made industry uncompetitive.

-The global role of the US now is very different to then. I really hope the fed isn't stuck fighting the last war, though the policy responses suggest it is.

clagr's picture

Ti9, I was around in the 70's and 80's in the S&L, Residential Real Estate and Mortgage Banking business. So I can speak directly to your questions. There was a feeling that this is the "end of everything as we know it" when short term interest rates hit 21% and mortgage rates on single family houses hit about 18%! Really! it did. But it was different than now.

People still had to have at least a 5% down payment on houses and had to actually afford the mortgage payments out of real documented income--not bogus 'stated', no-doc income. We had some hope that if there was a change in the (Carter) Administration, who did not know how to 'manage' anything, we could get things back on track. People had jobs; the US economy still made things and businesses had more confidence in a future than now.

Along came Regan, tax cuts, confidence boosted because the guy at the helm had some executive experience and surrounded himself with business people and interest rates dropped like a stone.

Now, there is no hope that the current administration knows how to 'fix' anything. Businesses will not hire because there is no prospect that times (and costs and taxes) will be better. The government has shot its wad and, since it wasn't focused on building something productive, it didn't work. Tax and spend is the way to anarchy (we are not that far behind Greece and we don't get to retire until 65--not 57). The public is slowly catching on to the spin and hype that is hiding the real state of the economy and the overall level of public debt. So the politicians cannot even think of passing another stimulus package or God forbid, they will lose their job.

We have such a large proportion of the population living in the US not working or working without paying taxes, yet drawing money and services from government coffers (and even sending funds back out of the country) that we need a complete overhaul of our system. What we need is (regressive) taxes on consumption--especially on gasoline [$3-5 per gallon] and sugar based foods, like we have done on tobacco--and stimulus to encourage business to do and make things here and therefore hire people here. 

I have no hope for our future with this Congress and Administration--and the American public is (hopefully) getting to the same position.

The wrenching changes needed will be very difficult and take a long time. But then we have been spendthrifts on a credit binge for a long time too, so I guess it really isn't too suprising--just unpleasant.

Instant Karma's picture

Other than fudging the data (as described) nothing in the local or national news suggests that unemployment is declining. Quite the opposite.

Village Idiot's picture

I wasn't paying much attention because of age, either. I have discussed the late eighties with my parents, though. Bottom line - different this time.  In their minds, it was more of a singular event - inflation, and all the problems that came with it. Potential for global meltdown?  No.



papaswamp's picture

Actually the Not In Labor Force number was +842,000 bringing the May+June total to just over 1.33 million.....that is 1.33 million that are not counted in the last 2 months alone. I'm beginning to think our UE number (U-3) is really closer to 15% with U-6 in the 22% zone.

cowdiddly's picture

The employment numbers will soon become like the budget. In item to insignificant to release a report on. This is all due to Obama's pledge for more  government transparency

New_Meat's picture

... er ... which budget would you be talking about? We're in a new fiscal year. - Ned

rrbluefin's picture

I think you mean "what budget" since Pelosi decided against producing one for the new FY...

bugs_'s picture

Reversion to mean power 12%

Strange Attractor power 25%

viator's picture

Hey, you have it all wrong. From the current home page of Bloomberg:

"as an unexpected decline in the U.S. jobless rate reassured investors about the health of the world’s largest economy."

johngaltfla's picture

Nice work Tyler. Tom Keene grabbed this just minutes after you posted it and talked about it. Well done sir.

Gimp's picture

Talking about propoganda and manipulation these government numbers on employment are just total bullshit but they have the mass media "machine" under their control so the "newspeak" is spread to the masses no questions asked.

I wish the ACLU and other groups who salavate at cases involving taking crosses down in the desert or protecting a pervert who just raped a kid would spend some time looking at the "Freedom of the Press" issues and separate the governments control over it.

Josephine29's picture

So it would appear that the unemployment numbers are not what they seem. There is more and more of this happening. I was reading about this earlier on the notayesmanseconomics web blog about inflation in the US. This gave a fascinating answer that if it was measured on the same basis as in the UK and the Euro zone then it would be pretty much the same as the UK which is considered to have an inflation problem.....

banksterhater's picture

Jesse has a great chart showing the birth-death additions layered annually - look how no adjustment for state of economy!

b/d added about 145,000 jobs

herry's picture

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