The unemployment rate is increasing at about the same pace as it has in every recession for the past 25 years (from very different starting points).
Why does this matter?
Well, I think that the second way of looking at this data tends to lead naturally to two important observations:
1. What seems to matter in getting to really bad job losses is the duration of the recession. So, speed in passing a stimulus bill is probably a lot less important than getting our countermeasures right. This is, of course, diametrically opposed to the natural conclusion one would reach in looking at the first chart.
2. The structural work on the economy is at least as important as how we deal with the recession. The stagflation of the 1970s meant that we started the ’81-82 recession at about the unemployment level that we have taken more than a year of recession to reach today. Doing something, anything, to stop the pain of the current recession, no matter what its structural effects on the economy, might seem practical, but it is not.
Another reason why it’s not practical: The Senate “stimulus” bill has not been read by those voting on it.
While I’m at the visuals,
All You Need to Know About the ‘Stimulus’ Bill: It’s 47% Earmarks, 80% ‘Doesn’t Create Jobs’
As The $827 Billion Spending Bill Continues To Grow, Taxpayers Remember When It Was A Much Smaller Proposal
The Latest Version Of The Spending Bill Includes New Cars For The Government, Golf Cart Tax Breaks, And Bureaucrat Office Renovations