Mike the Mad Biologist

Unnamed “economists” appear to claiming a light at the end of the economic tunnel because the U.S. economy ‘only’ lost 345,000 jobs last month, and the increase in unemployment is slowing.

We have been reduced to cheering on the second derivative.

For those of you whose math is rusty, the first derivative is the change in unemployment. A negative number is actually a good thing, since it means unemployment has dropped. The second derivative measures how large the change in unemployment is.

These “green shoots” still mean that unemployment is rising, but it’s not rising as quickly. I’ve heard of turning a frown upside down, but this is ridiculous. The broad rate of unemployment (‘U6′) could easiily reach twenty percent. And with a big surge in ARM recasts coming, I’m afraid this modest increase is a blip, not a good sign.

Brad DeLong is right: we need another stimulus package.

Note: Umemployment figures are not the same as job-losses. The former is reported by workers, the latter by business owners. The pattern for both, right now, is similar, however.

Comments

  1. #1 Matt Platte
    June 7, 2009

    Derivatives helped create this financial mess so why not celebrate ‘em?

  2. #2 Jim Thomerson
    June 7, 2009

    It is pointed out on TV that the jobless rate for people with Bachelors degrees is @ 4.9%, essentially full employment. Yes, education is good.

    Since the early 80′s, females have dominated the ranks of those receiving Bachelors; even Masters in recent years. This is particuloarly true of the classical minority groups. This suggests the total pool of educated people in the USA is majority female, or will soon be so. What are the implications of this?

  3. #3 yogi-one
    June 7, 2009

    This suggests the total pool of educated people in the USA is majority female, or will soon be so. What are the implications of this?

    Get used to saying, “Yes, Ma’am.”

    As in, “I have a master’s degree, and you have a GED; so you dig the ditch, and I will write the report. Get it?”

    “Yes, Ma’am!”

    And could you smile when you say it, please?

  4. #4 Jeff
    June 13, 2009

    Nate Silver of Fivethirtyeight.com pointed out the second derivative issue a month ago. And he had a much more detailed analysis. See: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/05/horray-second-derivative-of.html

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    September 1, 2009

    This is particuloarly true of the classical minority groups. This suggests the total pool of educated people in the USA is majority female, or will soon be so.

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