We Have More Parasites Looters And Moochers Every Day

The unemployment rate is now officially higher than it was when President Obama took office. That’s a slow recovery, but still good.

Here is the bad news:

Actually it’s a complicated issue isn’t entirely a reflection of this lesser depression but part of a longer trend:

This fine article by Brian Beutler explains. There’s a lot going on here, and none of it is particularly good.

“Applying this demographic view to recessions and recoveries suggests that the future recessions with historically typical cyclical behavior will have steeper declines and slower recoveries in output and employment,” conclude economists James Stock and Mark Watson (PDF).

If this is right, and current trends hold, our unemployment rate will remain high for a long time. That’s a scary thought, but as Wolfers noted, it depends on what’s underlying the trends. “If people are making other choices and are happy with those choices, it’s a great thing. But if women want to work and aren’t able to find jobs, it’s terrible.”

The data tell fascinating and important stories, but they aren’t the most telling indicators of the pace of the recovery. The U.S. has a much higher labor force participation rate than many other major economies, including some, like Germany, that weathered the global recession better than we have. The significance lies in broader demographic and policy differences between America and other countries.

A lot of this has to do with absorbing women into the workforce over the past few decades, thus propping up the workforce participation numbers. And Americans expect people to work as much of their life as humanly possible and then die quickly, so we’re exceptional, as usual.

But this is sort of funny:

If this is right, and current trends hold, our unemployment rate will remain high for a long time. That’s a scary thought, but as Wolfers noted, it depends on what’s underlying the trends. “If people are making other choices and are happy with those choices, it’s a great thing. But if women want to work and aren’t able to find jobs, it’s terrible.”

I have a sneaking suspicion that a very few of these people are voluntarily “making other choices” and are happy with that. I assume he’s obliquely referring to women staying home with their kids which I don’t doubt many women are happy to do. But it’s kind of a mixed blessing when you are losing your home, spending all your savings and getting deeply into debt in order to do it. I would imagine that for many families it’s a bittersweet “choice” at best. On the other hand, those people who are finding new careers as thieves, prostitutes and meth dealers are probably very happy with their choices. Who wouldn’t be?

Mike Konczal has a thoughtful analysis of all this here.

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