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Discussion: (7 comments)

  1. Either you mean for “non-depression” to exclude the recovery years of 1934-37, or else your undisclosed method of combining unemployment rate, labor force participation, and GDP growth makes 2012 worse then 1934-37, despite the persistence of unemployment rates over 15 percent for most of that time.

    Maybe you could elaborate. Otherwise, it appears you have strained to force 2012 to stand as an extreme in a contrived set of years, not justifying the sweeping language “worst in the history of the United States”.

  2. Worst non-recession, non depression year in US history…does that make it the most “meh” year in US history?

    1. :-P

  3. Commerce Department data goes back to 1930. Since then, there has been no single year with GDP growth as weak as 2012 that wasn’t in recession.

    Well, I didn’t know that 2012 only had half a year. :-) If you want to compare to prior years you should be using 12 month (4 quarters) moving averages, adjusted by population growth.

    On that basis , year over year real GDP per capita of 1.41% is higher than the growth rate at the beginning of 7 of the last 8 recessions since 1960.

  4. So it is rare that so many people who want jobs are idle, as is the case today.

    Huh. It’s what laissez-faire capitalism is all about. The size of the slice of national income incrementally flows to capital, not labor over time. The secular decline in the labor share of national income for the last generation is unmistakeable. Since the advent of trickle-down in 1980, household consumption grew relative to GDP due to the secular decline in the savings rate and the secular rise in the leverage rate. Those trends have recently reversed depressing GDP relative to the past.

    As for the labor force participation rate, men have been lazy for 2 generations; teenagers have been lazy for half a generation. The male decline was masked by a rising female rate which peaked at the turn of the century.

    1. Gee, now if we could only find some Laissez-Faire capitalism anywhere on Earth we could do a correlation or otherwise test your hypothesis.

      Alas, in the case of the US, we are dealing with an economy that has been increasingly collectivist since President Wilson. Some industries such as banking and medicine are nearly 100% regulated

  5. Bennet Cecil

    President Obama promised to fundamentally change America; he needs 4 more years to collapse the economy and assume complete control of Americans. If you want the USA to be Greece vote for him.

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