Sunday, August 03, 2003

Way back on July 3, the General blogged:
The Poppy Bush recession began 1990:III and it took until 1991:IV for GDP to recover in real terms. At the start of the Bush I recession, unemployment stood at 5.9%; it took until September 1994 for unemployment to be that low again -- about 33 months between GDP recovery and employment recovery. By comparison, employment recovery from the Reagan recession was downright rapid. The Reagan recession began in 1981:IV and it took until 1983:II for GDP to recover. At the start of the Reagan recession, unemployment stood at 8.5%; it took until November 1983 for unemployment to be that low again -- about 6 months between GDP recovery and employment recovery.

So far for Jr. it has been about 18 months since GDP recovery. In 2001:I unemployment was 4.2% and it's going to take a hell of a long time to get back to that kind of territory.
In light of the new job numbers released last week, I thought I'd do the same thing not with the unemployment rate but with the number of jobs in the economy.

For Nixon/Ford, the pre-recession employment high was in June 1974: 64.4 million jobs. The employment numbers bottomed out after 10 months with a whopping 4.19% of US jobs having disappeared. It took until June 1976 for the economy to return to the pre-recession level, a total of 24 months.

For Carter, the pre-recession employment high was in March 1980: 74.7 million jobs. The employment numbers bottomed out after just 4 months with 1.71% of US jobs having disappeared. It took until February 1981 for the economy to return to the pre-recession level, a total of 11 months. Oh, if recessions could only be like this again!

For Reagan, the pre-recession employment high was in August 1981: 75.4 million jobs. The employment numbers bottomed out after 16 months with 3.54% of US jobs having disappeared. It took until October 1983 for the economy to return to the pre-recession level, a total of 26 months.

For Poppy Bush, the pre-recession employment high was in March 1990: 91.2 million jobs. The employment numbers bottomed out at 23 months with 1.94% of US jobs having disappeared. It took until May 1993 for the economy to return to the pre-recession level, a total of 38 months!

For George W., the pre-recession employment high was in February 2001: 111.6 million jobs. It has been 29 months and the employment numbers have still not bottomed out. So far, 2.91% of US jobs have disappeared -- and counting.

Amazingly, the Bush Jr. jobs recession has combined the worst of both previous ones (both under Republican presidents, I might add). George W. has had the longest jobs recession since the 1930s, longer even than his fathers when comparing bottom-out rates. He is also pushing Reagan territory in terms of the depth of the jobs recession. But at least the Nixon/Ford and Reagan jobs recessions were short -- 10 and 16 months respectively to bottom-out time. Remember, this economy is at 29 months and counting!

As far as jobs go, it's fair to say this one is easily the worst since the end of the "Golden Age" in the 1970s and even the worst recession for work since the 1930s.

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