Happy Days Are Here Again?

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Michael Snyder at Zero Hedge has 37 reasons why the talk in portions of the mainstream media about an economic recovery is utter rubbish:


There has been absolutely no employment recovery.  The percentage of Americans that are actually working has stayed between 58 and 59 percent for 51 months in a row.  But most Americans don’t understand these things and they just take whatever the mainstream media tells them as the truth.

And of course the reality of the matter is that we should have seen some sort of an economic recovery by now.  Those running our system have literally been mortgaging the future in a desperate attempt to try to pump up our economic numbers.  The federal government has been on the greatest debt binge in U.S. history and the Federal Reserve has been printing money like crazed lunatics.  All of that “stimulus” should have had some positive short-term effects on the economy.

Sadly, all of those “emergency measures” do not appear to have done much at all.  The percentage of Americans that have a job has stayed remarkably flat since the end of 2009, median household income has fallen for five years in a row, and the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.  Anyone that claims that the U.S. economy is experiencing a “recovery” is simply not telling the truth.  The following are 37 reasons why “the economic recovery of 2013” is a giant lie…

#1 The only reason that the official unemployment rate has been declining over the past couple of years is that the federal government has been pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans no longer want a job and have “left the labor force”.  As Zero Hedge recently demonstrated, if the labor force participation rate returned to the long-term average of 65.8 percent, the official unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent.

#2 The percentage of Americans that are actually working is much lower than it used to be.  In November 2000, 64.3 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  When Barack Obama first entered the White House, 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.6 percent of all working age Americans have a job.  In fact, as you can see from the chart posted below, there has been absolutely no “employment recovery” since the depths of the last recession…

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

#3 The employment-population ratio has now been under 59 percent for 51 months in a row.

#4 There are 1,148,000 fewer Americans working today than there was in November 2006.  Meanwhile, our population has grown by more than 16 million people during that time frame.

#5 The “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) has just hit a brand new all-time record high.  Does this look like an “economic recovery” to you?…

Inactivity Rate Men

#6 The number of working age Americans without a job has increased by a total of 27 million since the year 2000.

#7 In November 2007, there were 121.9 million full-time workers in the United States.  Today, there are only 116.9 million full-time workers in the United States.

#8 Middle-wage jobs accounted for 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession, but they have accounted for only 22 percent of the jobs created since then.

#9 Only about 47 percent of all adults in America have a full-time job at this point.

#10 The ratio of wages to corporate profits in the United States just hit a brand new all-time low.

Go here to read the rest.  I have long believed that there are few things that a government can do to improve an economy, but quite a few things that a government can do to mess one up.  The Obama administration has been a gigantic lab experiment as to what happens with an economy when those at the top are dedicated to policies that are poison for economic growth.

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  1. “Recession” and “Recovery” are states defined conventionally according to criteria stated by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It is not some media hoax or one cooked up by Obama and his camarilla. Production statistics turned positive in the Spring of 2009. We have a damaged labor market and the Democratic Party promotes policies which damage it further. That is a policy failure, not a feature of the business cycle.

  2. Art, this is a miserable economy that the policies of the present administration has done everything in its power to make worse. The type of jobless rate we have is a factor of most entrepreneurs, being too terrified of the policies of this administration to risk the investment necessary for a true expansion of the economy that would bring the unemployment rate down, as happened routinely in prior real recoveries. In the so-called “jobless” Bush recovery post 9-11 the unemployment rate was between 5 percent and 4.5%, effectively full employment. The fact that we haven’t seen that type of recovery regarding employment I place completely at the feet of the current administration.

  3. “Production statistics turned positive in the Spring of 2009.”

    Stats geek that I am, I am curious, “relative to what?”


  4. WK Aiken, the salient metric is gross domestic product, which began to expand around about June of 2009.

    The fact that we haven’t seen that type of recovery regarding employment I place completely at the feet of the current administration.

    I would not credit them for anything, but, per Kenneth Rogoff, recovery from economic contractions brought about by financial crises are commonly slow. Also, labor markets do not in our era tend to aright themselves quickly even when liberalisation is pursued (the British labor market from 1983 to 2000 being an example).

    We are badly in need of measures which reduce the anxiety of employers about the future direction of public policy and labor costs. We also need federal spending and taxation realigned. We will never get jack out of the Democratic Party, of course.

  5. Art.

    Got it. Thanks. Not out of the woods by any stretch and while that gang of self-important baboons with delusions of competence are still running things, nobody’s risking crap.

    Man, is the calendar slow these days or what?

  6. Don, careful, you sound to me like you are expressing a crude and naïve trust in the importance of economic growth and the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.
    I was just at vatican.va to pick up the phrases I needed to rebuke Don with, and I ran across this gem in paragraph 59: “We are far from the so-called ‘end of history’, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.” Although Marx and Engels tried their best. It sounds like Pope Francis wants to take another bite at the apple.

  7. this whole “scared to take risk” talking point is overly simplistic, recoveries have happened before after taxes have been raised (though not BECAUSE of it obviously)/not cut and new govt. programs were introduced. Crashes suck though, it’s true.

  8. Mass immigration has hampered any hope for a genuine economic recovery. We need to retain a jobs creation tempo of 250,000 a month for at least 12 years due to our explosive population growth. Halt mass immigration for two decades.

    And on the other hand, many of the jobs we create are part-time “service” jobs that don’t grow a competitive, entrepreneurial economy. Wal-Marts don’t make a country great. Return to manufacturing and selling.

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