Tuesday, January 13, 2015

See, Everything is Great...

It was recently said we are approaching what many economists call “full employment.” That is the point at which the people who are unemployed really are “just between jobs.” There is little long term unemployment. Jobs are plentiful. There is upward pressure on wages. In short, general prosperity.

Can’t you feel it?

It is possible that the economy has slogged its way through all the central planning and manipulation in the wake of 2008 and the real economy is emerging a bit despite the central planners. I figure that’s part of the equation. But an unemployment rate of 5.6% would indicate a nearly rip roaring economy, anybody see much of that?

I do see something which somewhat resembles “not horrible” but it’s not like happy days are here. Add that Europe and Asia are slowing again (from already pretty darn slow), and that lower oil prices – though probably pushed down by the Saudis for geopolitical reasons – probably reflect this slowing world economy. Add that there seems to be no upward pressure on wages. And that housing has taken yet another dip. I can’t celebrate, and we should be celebrating an unemployment rate of 5.6%.  Of course the unemployment rate is not really 5.6%. In reality its at least 9 to 10 % if one accounts for the workers (especially older workers) who have just fallen off of the unemployment rolls after years on them. And don’t forget the vast sea of underemployed people.

As far as many of the establishment economists are concerned these 2 groups no longer really count “officially.” So hey, why even consider them? Better to do everything possible to conjure the “animal spirits.” Create the illusion of prosperity to create actual prosperity.

The permanently unemployed and the underemployed are such a buzz kill.