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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Reynolds on Unemployment and the Economy

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reynolds on Unemployment and the Economy

Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute had a different take on why the recent unemployment data has been interpreted so negatively (Wall Street Journal, "Don't Believe the Double Dippers").  It's the political spin and it comes from both sides of the aisle.
Using all of this statistical trickery to convert a weak job market into an imminent recession has become a bipartisan political strategy. Robert Reich and other big government Democrats play the "double dip" card to peddle more deficit spending on refundable tax credits and transfer payments. Conservative Republicans often become double-dippy for very different reasons—to argue (quite plausibly) that hundreds of billions in "stimulus spending" has proven counterproductive so far, contributed to the debt, and will eventually lead to higher taxes.
Reynolds does an excellent job describing various measures of unemployment (U2, U4, and U6) and the "Job Opening and Turnover Survey."  His interpretation is well worth the read.

In addition to interpreting the employment data, he describes the general economic outlook.  If it were a weather forecast, he would report that the sky is not falling, but the dawn is overcast.    
Those who want to know what is going on must sift through all of this bipartisan gloom to distinguish between (1) agenda-driven dire warnings and (2) the boring reality of a sluggish recovery being partially paralyzed by ominous threats of punitive taxes and onerous regulation.


  1. Thanks for the post. Your weather metaphor is right on.

  2. Adrian Garcia20/6/10 9:27 PM

    I read the Reynolds article and I don't think there is going to be a double-dip, but growth will be unusually slow for a recovery. And I also like your weather metaphor.

  3. I dont think that there will be a double dip but the road to recovery will be a lot longer if the tax payers are penalized with higher taxes. The weather forcast is a perfect example of our economy.