Sunday, May 06, 2012

Job wars

Nothing takes worse of a beating in presidential elections than do facts and figures.  We know that (a) our employment levels have not recovered to their pre-recession levels and (b) job losses in this recession are far worse than in any post-war recession.

But yet someone manages to produce this (clic the pic for an even more misleading image):

So this "recovery" is "normal", even though we know it isn't.

The trick is accomplished in three steps. The first is by using the total number of jobs and not taking into account that the labor force is much larger now than it was in 1990 or 2001. The second is to date the chart from the bottom of the recession. The third is to ignore all the other post-war recessions.

The invaluable Calculated Risk blog provides a more accurate view about the strength of our current recovery (clic the pic for an even more enlightening image):

Yes people, that is actually where we are and what we are still up against. The first graph is roughly comparing the upward sloping part of the red line against the upward sloping part of the brown line (the 2001 recession and recovery) on a total number of job basis instead on of a percentage of jobs basis, and trying to get you to think that we are better off in this recovery than we were in the 2001 recovery, which of course is utter nonsense.

On a more positive note, I am fairly certain that Bin Laden is actually dead.


Anonymous said...

Where was that first graph posted/created?

Anonymous said...


Tommy the wannabe Brit is curious--what do you make of the fact that, according to graph number 2, the last three recessions look quite different than the others. They look more prolonged--2001 wasn't that deep, but the length of time it took to get positive was much longer. Now we have one long and deep, but the pattern is much closer to 1990 and 2001 than the others.

Angus said...

Anon: here is what I think is the origin of the first graph:

Tommy: I would have said that pre-1990 they were deep but short while the 90 and 2001 recessions were shallow but long.

Sadly, the current case combines the worst of both: deep and long.