Historical employment data

Since we seem to be having a heated debate about the facts, I thought I’d offer this information from the Bureau of Labor Statics.

Yes, unemployment hit 5.1% for the month of March 2008. No, that’s not a reason for hysteria unless you’re a Democrat trying to make it one. Here’s a chart for 1978 to 2008 – a span of 30 years:


Except for three years during our “irrational exuberance”* prior to the dot com bust of 2000, the rate for 30 years has been above 5%.

Click here and enter the dates 1978 to 2008 to check my data. (Sorry, I tried to link to the Java before and it didn’t stick.)

*Then fed chairman Alan Greenspan first used the term in December, 1996.


  1. It still trended downward and I have to think that Clinton wasn’t holding it back. That’s the point. I don’t want to blame anyone, but I do want to point out that trends matter more than a 1 month glimpse.

    The unemployment rate will continue to trend upward, that’s my guess. If’ I’m wrong demonize me in a month but don’t jump the gun.

  2. And again, those links don’t work.

  3. I’m really not a huge Clinton fan, but it does strike me that we can demonize Clinton for things he shouldn’t be faulted with–but heaven forbid he gets some credit for the good things.

    It’s a double standard. Like it or not, the president is always tied to the economy. Can we fauly Jimmy Carter for the recession that took place in his presidency?

    Oh wait, he’s a Democrat so, yes. We here who are “Fairly Conservative” can do that.

  4. Sorry, fixed the link.

    How have I not been fair? I’ve opined (tee hee) that Democrats are using the economy to increase the momentum for change; I’ve given data to show that the current unemployment data of 5.1% is not historically significant to support my argument.

    How is that unfair?

  5. Because on this issue you’re more “fairly partisan.” Which Democrats are making this crisis look worse?

    Hillary and Barack? John McCain is tooting the same horn, I think. The Fed. is hedging on calling this a recession, but I think we’re truly headed there.

    The reason why I fault Bush on this is because our economy is tied to all the government spending that’s been going on–Iraq, pork (which is higher than ever and used more by Republicans than Democrats).

    That’s why consumer confidence is down. Bush inflated the balloon and now reality is about to pop it.

    But I didn’t want to go down the partisan road, but you’ve forced me to.

  6. It’s a darn good thing you have your own blog to flesh your argument out, then.

  7. har, har, har. I was actually questioning YOUR argument. No Bait and Switch!

    Let’s end this though, I got a little heated and personal, yes. But I stand by my arguments.

  8. Yikes, I am almost hesitant to enter this conversation, since I haven’t even had my coffee yet…

    If memory serves correctly, there was a time when 5% unemployment was considered full employment–that those unemployed were either between jobs or did not want a job. Anyone remember that?

    My husband lost his job in ’82 due to a lay off. It was a tough time. But an important piece to the Carter years and aftermath was inflation.

    Energy prices were sky high, interest rates were unbelievably double digit (prime was 21.5%), and prices climbed every time you shopped.

    Currently, we are seeing rising energy prices, which we have absorbed pretty well. (El Gato’s Best Buy example.) I don’t think we are going to be able to absorb rising energy prices and rising food prices though. (Rising because of increased transportation costs and shorter supply due to bio fuels.)

    When people don’t have money to spend on extras, that leads to lay offs and higher unemployment. That’s the way I see it.

  9. El gato says:

    My original point before I was so rudely interrupted by junior was that 5.1% is not so bad. That was all! Beyond that I believe we are headed for financial ruin caused by everyone…politicians and people alike. I bet in 1925 no one believed what 1929 would hold either.

  10. El gato, I have similar concerns. I don’t think people realize how we were on the brink during the Carter years of a repeat 1929.

    I see a lot of similarities today. Devaluing our money like we are doing will not help, and passing out checks to income tax filers will just make it worse.

  11. Just remember the sheeple of WI will absorb any tax or fee until the times comes when they reach into their pocket and they don’t have enough money to buy a fish fry and a shot and a beer on Friday night.

  12. Cheri M. says:

    Let’s grow veggies! :o)
    We can have a potato and a bean on Friday night. Rest of the week: just a bean.

    Seriously, it’s time for everyone to be more self-sufficient or we don’t stand a chance in the global economy.

  13. The cause of the crisis is deeply rooted in our social moral patterns. Democrats don’t even mention that we must fix this or we will stay even more long periods under water.