Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Wrong Direction?

One recurring theme during the current election cycle is that our economy is heading in the wrong direction, that current policies are killing jobs and hindering our economic recovery. I think that everyone agrees that we have a long way to go to recover from the recent economic meltdown and that things are proceeding slowly, but I think that there's room for debate on the issue of direction.

For instance, here's a graph of initial jobless claims as reported by the US Department of Labor starting in January of 2009, just before the peak later that spring. This graph seems to show jobless claims heading in what appears to be the right direction.

The next graph from the US Bureau of labor statistics is for the US unemployment rate. Again this appears to be heading in the right direction, although at a rate that no one would be happy with.

Given these two graphs is it reasonable to argue that we're headed in the wrong direction? Should the debate more properly be that the rate of change is too slow? Or are there other data that better make the case for the wrong direction argument?

What do you think?

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