07 February 2009
Economic gloom and doom
About a year ago I started a folder of bookmarks with the title above, but wound up not using them because they are so depressing, and that's not what most people come to TYWKIWDBI for. But every now and then things pop up that just beg for attention.
The graph above was in the excellent (weblog award finalist) blog Swimming Freestyle today. The original source isn't linked, but the data are believable. The blue line shows the 1990 recession, the red line from the 2001 recession, and the green line shows an early data point from the current recession.
As many websites point out (but the mainstream media generally doesn't), the unemployment data are typically sugar-coated (by both Republican and Democratic administrations) by omitting those with part-time work, those not looking for work, etc. The concept is partially but confusingly portrayed here.
The public views (or is being asked to view) the stimulus package as the cure for the recession. Others argue convincingly that the fundmental problem behind the current economic downturn is too much debt, and that the stimulus package uses additional debt to tackle the problem. Wall Street responded on Friday to just the prospect of the stimulus passing Congress with a vigorous rally. I think that's shortsighted and naive, and as I've indicated here for the past year, I continue to hold short positions on the Dow and Russell 2000 indexes to match all my long mutual funds, so I'm effectively trying to ride this out in neutral gear. I'll continue to take bullish positions on gold in the expectation that all this spending has to eventually crush the US dollar. I'm not advising anyone else to do the same. Do your own due diligence.
Addendum: Source for the graph found, thanks to J-Walk. Unfortunately the source link is connected to Nancy Pelosi, so must be taken with a (billion) grains of salt. The data is ultimately suppposed to have come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Addendum: an updated version, incorporating data from earlier recessions has been posted at Swimming Freestyle.