Posts Tagged ‘1982’

Feeling 1982: Fifteen million unemployed

2 July 2009

Another BLS employment report, more bad news.  In every month since April 2008, the U.S. unemployment rate has either risen or held steady.  It’s currently at 9.5%, the highest since late 1982, and 14.7 million people are unemployment (or 15.1 million if one uses the non-seasonally-adjusted data, i.e., the data that count the actual unemployed without filtering for seasonal fluctuations).  For adult men, the unemployment rate is an even 10%. Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 467,000, about 100,000 worse than economists had expected.

U.S. unemployment rate, 1980-2009

U.S. unemployment rate, 1980-2009

It gets worse still. Think of 5% unemployment as the benchmark, as many economists consider 5% to be the “natural” rate of unemployment, i.e., about the lowest unemployment rate that the economy can sustain without generating higher inflation.  The unemployment rate has been that low or better quite often in recent years, including about four years in 1997-2001 and about three years in 2005-2008 (click chart to see it properly).  Right now, however, 5 percent (actually 5.1%) is the long-term unemployment rate, i.e., the number of people unemployed 15 weeks or longer divided by the total labor force.

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Another sign that we’re in a depression

16 March 2009

great_depression_2008Industrial capacity utilization is at its lowest level since 1982 (when we had double-digit unemployment), and down 11% from a year ago (when we were already in a recession).

Calculated Risk has the story; data are from the Federal Reserve.