David Kirkpatrick

May 28, 2009

How this downturn stacks up

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:17 pm

I’ve done plenty of blogging on the financial crisis/economic downturn/recession/possible depression, and lately I’ve been pushing back a little at what I see as overly optimistic short-term outlooks.

This thing is far from over, but in the interest of fairness this chart provides a little perspective. Things are rough — as in as bad as has been seen in around fifty years — but no where near the Great Depression. And I do think the worst of bleeding has been staunched so it’s really unlikely we to those depths.

From the second link:

Six Downturns

The Great Depression was an unspeakably bad time for the U.S. economy.  I know that sounds obvious, but it seems necessary to say given all the recent rhetoric about “the worst economy since the Great Depression.”

Our economy has indeed been in terrible shape lately, with millions of families struggling with falling incomes, job losses, home foreclosures, and plummeting wealth.  The current recession is severe by any reasonable metric.  But it still pales in comparison to the Great Depression.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

February 6, 2009

Job loss and the internet

Seems as though the internet is providing some distraction and solace for those who are out of work right now.

Online gaming is huge (it’s always been a distraction for me, but I work out of my home office in front of a computer most of the day), social networking is popular and the involuntarily idle are blogging, tweeting and IMing with abandon.

Sounds like all this activity is a good thing given our current economic situation.

From the WSJ link:

Internet games, gambling and other forms of online entertainment have seen significant surges in use in the several months since the economic downturn deepened. Social-networking services like Facebook, blogs and discussion forums — all well-known time sinks even during good times — are also seeing strong growth. Some purveyors of online entertainment say business has never been so good for them.

Robert Kraut, a professor of social psychology and human computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, says games and other forms of entertainment can provide escape for people steeped in anxieties about the economy. “There’s evidence these distractions have a psychological benefit because they prevent a downward spiral of rumination,” says Dr. Kraut.

The trend echoes the escape mechanisms that people turned to during the Great Depression in the 1930s. At the time, people paid a nickel to spend entire afternoons and evenings watching films featuring Charlie Chaplin and others, cartoons and newsreels, says Gary Handman, a director at the Media Resources Center at the University of California at Berkeley.

December 5, 2008

Jobless news not good

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:01 am

The jobless issue is still dark boding for a tough holiday season.

These numbers don’t even reflect 637,000 people who’ve effectively given up and have “dropped out of the workforce” meaning even though they aren’t employed, they’re not “jobless” because they aren’t even trying to get a job any longer.

From the link:

With the economy deteriorating rapidly, the nation’s employers shed 533,000 jobs in November, the 11th consecutive monthly decline, the government reported Friday morning, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent.

The decline, the largest one-month loss since December 1974, was fresh evidence that the economic contraction accelerated in November, promising to make the current recession, already 12 months old, the longest since the Great Depression. The previous record was 16 months, in the severe recessions of the mid-1970s and early 1980s.