Thursday, April 21, 2011

Remembering The Present

Reposting another author's work in full is something I don't like doing, unless the circumstances call for it. Calculated Risk is a site dealing in analysis of the Big Indicators of economic movement (Housing, Employment, Money Supply; Manufacturing; Shipping, and Durable Goods), created by Bill McBride.

I'd at least give it a cursory look, even if reading about data and numbers isn't your thing. I've been a financial analyst Dog and enjoy the satisfaction of working (not massaging) the data to determine a result. Due to the clarity of his analysis (the infoporn quotient of his charts is Teh Hot) and utter lack of spin, the site is excellent.

McBride posted a short article yesterday which succinctly described the movement of society and economics over the past ten years, and gives the flavor of what you might find on the site on any given day. I'm reposting it here.
More than a Lost Decade
by CalculatedRisk on 4/20/2011 09:13:00 PM

I've been more upbeat lately, but even as the economy recovers - and I think the recovery will continue - we need to remember a few facts.

There are currently 130.738 million payroll jobs in the U.S. (as of March 2011). There were 130.781 million payroll jobs in January 2000. So that is over eleven years with no increase in total payroll jobs.

And the median household income in constant dollars was $49,777 in 2009. That is barely above the $49,309 in 1997, and below the $51,100 in 1998. (Census data here in Excel).

Just a reminder that many Americans have been struggling for a decade or more. The aughts were a lost decade for most Americans.

And I'd like to think every U.S. policymaker wakes up every morning and reminds themselves of the following:

There are currently 7.25 million fewer payroll jobs than before the recession started in 2007, with 13.5 million Americans currently unemployed. Another 8.4 million are working part time for economic reasons, and about 4 million more workers have left the labor force. Of those unemployed, 6.1 million have been unemployed for six months or more.

So even as we start to discuss how to fix the structural budget deficit, and also to address the long term fiscal challenges from healthcare costs, we can't forget about all of these Americans.

Of course, during the same period (2001 - 2011), in addition to employment, we also lost over four thousand soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen; the trust of a civilized world; and much of our collective self-respect and what passed for democracy in America. We also lost much of our reason, our capacity for outrage, and squandered the fruits of the labor of generations just to satisfy the greed of a small percentage of our population.

But, hey; we got to see pictures of Brittney Spears and Lindsay Lohan climbing out of limos without underwear. So 's all Good; Yo.