Friday, September 5, 2008

Jobless Rate Hits 6.1%, a 5-Year High

Finally, now the unemployment rate really is higher than the Clinton years.

7 years of the media incessantly ranting about how bad the economy is, and finally we really do get a slow down.

Though, we're not in a recession yet - that would have to be 2 sequential quarters of negative growth, or economic shrinkage.

Story at Yahoo...

Here's a good chart of unemployment rates:

You'd never know it by the headlines, but Bush unemployment numbers have the same exact average as the Clinton years.

Economist Alan Reynolds has an excellent piece here.

He notes that, whether Democrat or Republican, White House spokesmen often misrepresent facts and figures, making inappropriate comparisons to various other stats and time periods.

The Clinton years were only great after a Republican congress led the way in tax reduction and the Internet as an economic force took off. I think Clinton is best praised for what he didn't and couldn't do with the economy (i.e., take over healthcare, raise taxes uncontrollably) than what he did do. To Clinton's credit, he did at least sign the bills he was presented from a Republican congress.

Quotes From Reynold's Article:

Politics being what it is (a spectator sport), partisans can't resist attributing economic outcomes to the White House, rather than to the efforts of millions of business managers, workers and investors responding to incentives.

When calculating real incomes, however, nominal increases in wage and benefits are reduced by total inflation, including higher energy prices. This would seem to put the past four years at a big disadvantage, given the spike in energy prices. Yet it turns out that "wage growth" in the first Clinton term was nothing to brag about.

Even after including benefits, real compensation per hour fell by 0.5 percent in 1993, by 0.4 percent in 1994 and by another 0.3 percent in 1995. Real hourly wages and benefits increased by 1.2 percent a year from 2003 to 2006, but fell by 0.1 percent a year from 1993 to 1996.

The percentage of families below the poverty line was reduced from 12.3 percent in 1993 to 11 percent in 1996, which was progress of sorts. Yet fewer than 10 percent of families were poor from 2002 to 2005 (the latest available).

The economy during the Clinton years became much stronger after 1997, when Al Gore or Netscape invented the Internet and the president signed a cut in the capital gains tax.

More number crunchin', here at The Pantheon Journal.

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