Soft Spots Beyond Employment

Over at The Mess That Greenspan Made, Tim looks at other factors to consider when interpreting the historical jobs data in Fundamentally Different Recoveries. He notes that "Economic expansions and contractions have fundamentally changed since the early post-war years."

Further, the observation is made that the problem this recovery is "not the quantity of the new jobs that should be troubling people, it’s the quality."

That’s a legitimate issue — software writers and auto assembly line jobs being replaced with lower paying, weaker benefit positions (i.e., Wal-Mart greeters and Mc-burger flippers).

However, delving into other aspects beyond employment reveals that this recovery has quite a number of soft spots, beyond employment. As noted previously, our thesis is that this is a post bubble economy, and not merely a post recession economy. As such, most sectors should lag as we work off all of the excesses associated with the boom.

And indeed, that is what we see when reviewing most other sectors of the economy:

Consider this EPI chart:

Source: EPI


Except for Real Estate, every other economic measure is below the historical averages: GDP, Payroll, Personal Income, Consumption, Equiptment and Software are all weaker than typical cycles.

This is to be expected in this post-crash environment.

Fundamentally Different Recoveries   
Monday, January 16, 2006

The boom that wasn’t
Lee Price
December  21, 2005 | EPI Briefing Paper #168

PDF  Download bp168.pdf

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