Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The fierce urgency of crap statistics...

Part two in a planned multiple part series on fierce urgency...

There are about a zillion websites (I'm guessing because I stopped counting at a bajillion) that post this graphic comparing this recession to previous recessions.

From Blogger Pictures

Click on it to make it larger if you want. The problem with this chart is that is measures jobs in thousands. Since World War II, there has been a continuous increase in population in the United States. There are also more total jobs in the United States than there has been in even the last decade. Compare the above graphic with the one below.

From Blogger Pictures

It's the same information. The only difference is that the job loss is expressed as a percentage instead of a total number. This allows the data to reflect what is actually happening.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we might be able to deal with this recession intelligently if we could see it for what it is and for what it isn't.

It is a recession. It isn't the end of the world.

At the risk of being trite, what goes up, must come down. There will never, ever, ever be continuous economic growth forever and ever and ever. The United States has a fantastic economy. It will be occasionally be interrupted by recessions. FYI, we may not have several hundred billion to throw at the next one if we don't get realistic about this one.

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