The Economy Has NOT Recovered (With Graphs)
Ok, this was triggered by a Politico article (I know, Politico), which included this throwaway line, “The economy has largely recovered.” The conclusion to be drawn is that a lousy economy can’t have anything to do with young people loving Bernie.
Here’s the thing: People take the unemployment rate as meaning something to ordinary people, though it almost never does. Here’s the unemployment rate chart:
Now, looking at that you could be forgiven for thinking, “Ian, the economy really has largely recovered. Are you on crack?”
No Sir, I am not on crack. I am too poor to afford crack.
Here is the ratio of employed people to the population:
There has been no meaningful recovery in the actual percentage of Americans employed. The jobs do not exist. The unemployment rate is what it is because people have stopped looking, and what the unemployment rate measures is the percentage of people who are actively looking for a job, as compared to the people who are employed (the labor force).
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Now here’s a nifty graphic from the New York Times to round out the picture. Less people are working, as a percentage of the population, AND those who are working are earning less money:
The economy sucks. If you aren’t in the top 10 percent, it never recovered. It didn’t mostly recover, it mostly didn’t recover.
I will discuss what unemployment really measures in a later article. It doesn’t measure…unemployment.