How to Lie about Job Losses

Obama and other politicians talk about losing 600k jobs per month. Is that close to what was lost in the depression? Since the workforce is much larger now, we can NOT use the number of jobs lost as we so often hear. In order to accurately compare different time periods, we MUST use percentages. Here a percent chart from Carpe Diem. As you can see, our current recession is exactly like ’81-82. It is not close to the depression.

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26 Responses to “How to Lie about Job Losses”


  1. 1 lalves February 14, 2009 at 10:09 PM

    I agree that this current situation has been often exagerated and compared to the depression. I am not saying that times are not tough, but they are no where near to the depression as proven by the graph. I was always told that the way out of a recession is for American to spend its way out of it. The only way this can be done is by putting money back in American’s pockets through tax cuts. Afterall, it worked for Reagan. From the outside the stimulus package seems like a wonderful idea, but the reality of it is that the money has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is taxes.

  2. 2 Tanisha Econ101/Tuesdays February 14, 2009 at 10:24 PM

    Okay? Obama and other politicians are merely stating that 600k jobs are lost per month…From the looks of the chart, no, that is not close to how many jobs were lost during the depression.I think it’s a wonderful thing that the numbers we show are not close to the depression. I don’t think anybody wants them to be. Even if we stop comparing ourselves to the depression, this world is still experiencing hard times and we don’t need to see them get any worse. Looking at the depression percentages lets us know where we could be. This should be an incentive for us to come up with a plan to stay away from those high numbers.

  3. 3 aetiusromulous February 15, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    These sorts of discussion are critical distractions from the main issues. The “competeing” numbers of pain and sorrow make great headlines for the tabloid readers of the world, but have absolutely nothing to do with the very serious causes of our problems. These are symptoms, and in America, are more or less mortal depending on the ideology of the doctor.

    Ours in no fundamental structural way compares to earlier boom and bust cycles as we are at an end point of the entire boom and bust system. We will soon have lots of solid facts with which to beat ourselves, but in the meantime, we all would be best to focus on the hand we’ve got.

    Or we could go bowling.

  4. 4 Melissa Schmitt February 15, 2009 at 7:17 PM

    It is obvious that the times are not as hard as we have had them before but the point is that times are still bad. our economy is getting worse and worse. it is true that unemployment rate was about 25% in the great depression and that we were only at about 7% now. People are loosing their jobs and it is a lot of people that have bills and need to pay mortgages. the economy will get worse and people will lose more jobs and it is possible that we will catch up to the percentage of the great depression of the amount of people loosing their jobs every month. It rose from 1929 to 1930 and it can easily rise from 2009 to 2010

  5. 5 wordtown February 15, 2009 at 10:24 PM

    People did make it seem like we were going into a depression. Our economy is doing pretty bad right now becuase of everything that is going on. We just need to keep on living life and keep on trying to push forward as a country. Everything will turn around and workers will start getting their jobs back. At least I hope things start changing in our world.

  6. 6 Dennis K February 16, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    I found it quite curious that we are in a recession and at depression levels, but people were still able to afford and buy things. I recalled learning about the depression in the 20’s and that was way more crazy than whats happening now. So honestly I think we are simply exaggerating the issues and not really fixing it. People had no jobs or food back then and prices were so spiked up. Over the summer, I simply saw that gas was the biggest concern, and it simply doubled. Food was slightly higher, but not to crazy levels where people cant afford the basics. I think we are quite lucky to be in a quite stable economy.

  7. 7 Andrew Curry February 16, 2009 at 3:19 PM

    Plain and simple, Our economy is still terrible right now. People are Losing their jobs and that is never a good thing. the numbers might not be as bad as they were in 1930 but they are definetly not good at all. you can say that people are exagerating and trying to scare us into thinking that there is a depression coming , or that we are currently in one, but compared to recent years, the last 20, we are in one. the numbers may not be AS bad but they are still no where near being good.

  8. 8 Michael DeBoer Micro St. Mary's February 16, 2009 at 5:08 PM

    The job loss percentage isn’t as bad as the early 30’s but this does not mean we can turn our heads from this situation. For example, if GM doesn’t get bailed out (which i think they will) at least 2 million people will lose their jobs. Not only does the closing of GM affect their employees but it also affects all other companies with direct relations to GM. By saying that, I believe Obama should put more money into the peoples pockets by cutting taxes giving us more money to spend to help us get out of this recession.

  9. 9 Michael DeBoer Micro St. Mary's February 16, 2009 at 5:09 PM

    The job loss percentage isn’t as bad as the early 30’s but this does not mean we can turn our heads from this situation. For example, if GM doesn’t get bailed out (which i think they will) atleast 2 million people will lose their jobs. Not only does the closing of GM affect their employees but it also affects all other companies with direct relations to GM. By saying that, I believe Obama should put more money into the peoples pockets by cutting taxes giving us more money to spend to help us get out of this recession.

  10. 10 Gilberto Vazquez February 16, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    Wow these numbers are really startling. We can only imagine how people lived their lives during the 1930s with all the economy being so bad as these say it was. It makes you think that if the people from that time were able to get out of that economic “funk” then we are more than capable to doing it also since its not as bad as it was back then.

  11. 11 Gilberto Vazquez February 16, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    Wow these numbers are really startling. We can only imagine how people lived their lives during the 1930s with all the economy being so bad as these say it was. It makes you think that if the people from that time were able to get out of that economic “funk” then we are more than capable to doing it also since its not as bad as it was back then.

  12. 12 Rene Martinez February 16, 2009 at 6:39 PM

    I was amazed by the chart. Can you imagine if we ever had a depression in this day and age? College students will drop out, houses would go up for sale, it will be utter chaos. And although we are not even close to having any sort of “depression” it is still a little scary that we, as a country could be heading in that direction. President Obama can only say so much and do so much to get more jobs out there to the people.We are the ones that have to make up the difference.

  13. 13 samandrews February 16, 2009 at 10:36 PM

    Not understanding the past and present job loss ratio is posing a big problem for America. Yes, we are losing jobs at an apalling rate, but before we go on a freak-out spree we need to take a step back and breathe.
    This isn’t the end of the world, though many would disagree with me. Perhaps I’m being far too optimistic, but if were able to make it through the depression of the 30’s, with the little technology we had, we can do it again with up to the minute information as an advantage. Still, this is only an optimistic speculation.

  14. 14 NVC Storm February 17, 2009 at 7:29 PM

    This is a scary site; people losing jobs left and right. There isn’t a safe job out there at this point and time. We haven’t reached the point of how bad it got during the thirties, but it could start getting worse if we don’t do something with our economy. Our country needs to step up their game and turn this around because it is heading in that direction. Our education might taking a fall for this problem because money might be tight for the student and his/her family.

  15. 15 Michael Huddleston February 18, 2009 at 7:37 PM

    I love this graph. It puts the current picture into prospective. I know more and more people who are comparing today to the 1930’s depression. When we still have a long ways to go before we get there.

  16. 16 Samantha Arnold February 19, 2009 at 10:25 PM

    From the graphs it definately does not seem that we are losing as many jobs now as in the depression. I do believe that many people get in habits of spending and not saving. I still see many shopping centers and malls crowed as can be although people spending money is good for our economy, we should be saving as much as possible right now incase we do end up losing as mnay of jobs as we did in the depression.

  17. 17 Gabriela Corona February 20, 2009 at 8:03 PM

    Analyzing this graph makes me understand the actual economic situation we are in. Everyone makes it seem like if we were back in the Great Depression. With this graph and the percentages it shows us where we really stand economically. I’m not saying we are doing great and that we don’t need to worry, but we are not as bad as back when the Great Depression was taking place. We all need to cooperate and help to make a difference and get the United States out of this economic crisis.

  18. 18 Kelli C February 21, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    This is an important point because I am sure many people, including myself, don’t understand the relationship between our current economy struggles and that of the great depression. I thought that we were close in job loss to the Great Depression, but obviously not. Even though job loss isn’t as high as I thought in comparison, it doesn’t take away from the fact that there are still 600k people lossing their jobs per month and that is an issue that needs to be addressed.

  19. 19 Kit t Kat February 22, 2009 at 8:31 PM

    Just because the loss isn’t as bad as the 30’s does not mean the economy is not suffereing due to job losses. A lot of people got mouths to feed and bills to pay. Losing jobs is a tragic. Especially if one is always broke. I hope the government can get the economy in a better situation. A lot of bussinesses are closing and people tend to act in ways that infringe on the interest of others. A lot of lawless may arise due to people not having as much money as before.

  20. 20 quiche February 25, 2009 at 12:19 AM

    We may have gone through the Great Depression in the 1930’s but however, statistically the rate of job loses drastically increased. The comparison of the Great Depression and now can be differentiated because there’s a larger line of work. Our economy right now is not as poor, we still jobs to apply for, goods & services, and food. But as this continues we will face more problems maybe in the next 10 years. It will take awhile for our country to get back on track. One thing is that money is being mishandled and hopefully our government can somehow manage our economy and not continue to be in debt.

  21. 21 dionicio arechiga February 26, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    i dont think we will have a great depresstion because we now have more plans then back in the old days. we have unemployment,socila security,and we are more prepared then they were.

  22. 22 Hannibal March 3, 2009 at 10:04 PM

    I remember first reading and really understanding about the Great Depression in high school. I often imagined living during that time and how miserable a life could be for any given family with struggles such as losing jobs and more. In a way I’m almost blessed that it’s happening now because it really makes you value what you have now. I don’t like struggling from paycheck to paycheck or watching my parents work so desperately hard, but where is the joy in working if we don’t value what we have?

  23. 23 Houck24 March 15, 2009 at 4:32 PM

    I think that is completely absurd. Either way you cut it 600 thousand people are losing there job each week. Just because our workforce is larger now doesnt change that fact. Yes maybe in the depression a higher percentage of people may have lost there job but that is here nor there when you have 600 thousand people losing there job each week. Our Countries Population is bigger and therefore a lot more lives are being affected with the economic state whether the percentages portray that or not.

  24. 24 Kelsey Ryan May 6, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    I don’t feel that comparing our current situation to the past is very productive. i think its important to just focus on the “now.” Our current crisis may not look as bad as the depression because our country is more populated now, however it is still very unfortunate that many people are losing their jobs.

  25. 25 Gabriel Mayora May 13, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    I would have to agree with the first blogger in saying that this current economic state has been exaggerated when compared to the depression or that its close to the depression. Even though job opportunities are slim at this time it is evident that we are no where near the depression. I hope more of society is able to see this chart because it may offer them peace of mind. Hopefully, the job loss percentage does not surpass the 80’s depression either.

  26. 26 Craig K May 20, 2009 at 10:11 PM

    This graph does little to put my mind at ease about the job loss situation. For a while some economists predicted we would fall into a depression, but those concerns has dissapeared as we accept our undeniable state as in a recission. The numbers of a recession should probably be close to those in the last recission, 81-81, and Percent of Job Losses in Labor Force are right on line. I was not surprised or informed by these numbers, simply reaffirmed that we are indeed in a recission.


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