“Loss of Jobs Worst Since 1945,” The Wall Street Journal, Saturday, January 10, 2009
Sounds pretty bad, right? The United States economy shed more jobs in 2008 than in any year since 1945. Scary! Gotta go back 63 years to find times as bad as these is the obvious implication.
Well, let’s look a little bit closer.
The number quoted is given as an ABSOLUTE number of jobs lost, not a PERCENTAGE of the total number of jobs, or of the entire population.
– 1945 U.S. population: 132,500,000
– 2008 U.S. population: 302,000,000
So given that the U.S. population has more than doubled since 1945 (and the work force probably even more so, given the much greater percentage of participation of women in the job market), losing the same absolute number of jobs as in 1945 is no where near as big a deal.
A much better measure is the percentage of unemployment, which is currently 7.2%, and you only have to reach back 13 years to find that number repeated in the U.S. economic picture.
Yes, times are tough and, yes, the percentage of unemployment probably will rise and, quite frankly, it would not surprise me to see it hit a number that we would have to go back 25 years or so to find, maybe the early 1980s. That is still a lot better than 1945 and, more important, a lot more accurate.
As independent thinkers, as free citizens, as mature adults, it behooves us to remain aware of how our perspectives, opinions, and world views are being shaped by others. If we are not vigilant, if we do not rigorously guard the portals of our minds, we risk being manipulated, driven by the agenda of others.
Free people think for themselves and respect those with divergent beliefs.*
“There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are statistics.” —— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) describing falsehoods in descending order of magnitude of deception.
*There are limits to tolerance: respect for the beliefs of others does not extend to allowing them to impose those beliefs upon others or restrict the rights of others to self determination, free speech, etc. To do so would, in turn, be to not respect the beliefs of those being imposed upon.