Saturday, May 09, 2009

On Top of the Great Recession

Growthology takes exception to recent reports about light at the end of this very dark economic tunnel. The retort paints a gloomy picture and if you are an optimist (as I am), you won't be after looking at some of the graphs offered up as evidence of the dire straits:

The 1991 recession was my first as an adult worker. I had an awful time finding a job and was often homeless during my quest. I traveled across the country in search of a better labor market. I finally discovered one in Minneapolis and worked as a busboy at Al Nye's Polonaise Room. By comparison, the current downturn doesn't seem nearly so scary.

Speaking of scary, did anyone else see Chris Briem's graph comparing recessions? 1981 recession for Pittsburgh is a real jaw-dropper, making relative unemployment pain easy to grasp. There are temporal and spatial variations. If I was short of work now, then I'd probably be in Dallas. But the big difference for me is education. In 1991, I was armed with little more than a high school diploma. Today, I have an advanced degree. Despite being saddled with a mortgage and two young dependents, I'm not even close to the edge of the financial abyss. Perahps the worst is yet to come, but 1991 still seems more like the end of days given my personal experience.


Stephen Gross said...

BTW, you'll be pleased to know that Nye's is still doing good business. I walk past it a few times per week, and they always have outdoor speakers playing classics of the 1940's and 1950's.

Jim Russell said...

Anyone who has been to Nye's would know that I would be pleased with the update. Thanks.

Tough times, but great memories.