Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Obama Non-Recovery

This graph over the employment to population ratio, the most relevant measure of labor market progress since it takes population growth into account and since it includes hidden unemployment illustrates just how pathetically weak (nearly non-existent) the recovery in the U.S. has been:
Contrast this with the recoveries from the other two really deep post-World War II recessions, the ones in 1973-75 and 1981-82.  First the recovery beginning 1975:

And here's the recovery beginning in 1983:

Thus, in the 2 first years of recovery from the 1973-75 recession, most of the losses had been recovered while in the 2 first years from the 1981-82 recession, all of the losses and more had been recovered. But despite the fact that the losses in the 2007-09 recession were even greater, almost none of it has been recovered.

This doesn't by itself disprove the contention made by Obama supporters that conditions were much tougher this time and that without Obama's policies things would have been even worse, or the contention made from people to the left of Obama, like Paul Krugman, that Obama erred in not pursuing his policy of increased deficit spending even more boldly. But it does show that the current recovery has been extraordinarily weak and that Obama has failed to prevent this weakness.