Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hey Dr. Phil, Still Think We're Whining?


It was only five short months ago that former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), an economics professor by trade, VP of UBS Investment Bank, and adviser to Senator John McCain, told an audience that the United States had become a "nation of whiners" and that America was only suffering a mental recession, not a real one. For the record, McCain quickly repudiated Gramm's remarks but the damage had already been inflicted on his campaign as most Americans knew that Gramm had his head firmly implanted in the sand.

Well the numbers are out for November and I think I can safely say that this whole recession thing ain't in our heads. Last month alone, 533,000 Jobs were lost in the U.S.--the biggest one month drop since 1974. Over the last year, the country lost 1.9 million jobs, 1.2 million of which were eliminated since just September. Although some point to the 6.7% unemployment rate to argue that things aren't that bad, that figure is misleading: "The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent, up just two-tenths of a percentage point from October, but up six-tenths over the last three months. More than 420,000 men and women who had been working or seeking work in October left the labor force in November. More significantly, the unemployment rate does not include those too discouraged to look for work any longer or those working fewer hours than they would like. Add those people to the roster of the unemployed, and the rate hit a record 12.5 percent in November, up 1.5 percentage points since September."

I knew I wasn't imagining it...

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