Saturday, April 12, 2008

1970's Again?

In some ways the economic environment today is eerily similar to the 1970's. We have rising gas, food and precious metal prices. There were incessant fears about the coming climate crisis (a new Ice Age). The government was screwing things up with price controls then, now they are mandating CFL's, and ethanol and preventing oil drilling (there's talk about price controls for mortgage rates). We have claims (again) of peak oil and predictions of depression (much less a recession that hasn't even started).

So should you be afraid? That's what the media wants. That way you'll buy more of what they are selling. But the facts don't support the non-sense.

The stock market has barely dropped 10% from its peak which is usually called a market correction. Take a look at some statistics from 1996 when Clinton ran on the greatest economy ever:

Key Labor Market Statistics in 1996 and 2008

March 1996 March 2008
1. U.S. Unemployment Rate 5.5% 5.1%
2. Number of Long-Term Unemployed 1.33 million 1.28 million
3. Average Weeks Unemployed 17.3 weeks 16.2 weeks
4. Median Weeks Unemployed 8.3 weeks 8.1 weeks
5. Not in Labor Force because discouraged over job prospects 451,000 401,000

Of course, if the Democratic candidates that are preaching anti free trade get elected and create another Smoot-Hartley Act, all bets are off. My employer (a large international chemical company) is booming with earnings rising faster then they have since the 60's. Most of that is due to the drop in the dollar and expanding oversees markets.

I expect that we will have slow positive growth this year. However, since this is an election year and the press is trying to discredit the incumbent party, we are going to hear recession, depression and everything else that's negative about the economy.

By years end the press will be moving on to something else to create fear. In the words of Emily Litella "Never mind...."

Update: More perspective Economic Hysteria

1 comment:

Moneymonk said...

Dems also preaching on gas prices, however I only notice a $10 a week difference in my gas bill.

However, the media like to make people think that will kill us