Friday, October 02, 2009

The Great Deleveraging of Human Capital

U.S. job losses continue at a frightening rate, albeit on a seemingly "less bad" trend, even though last month's losses were slightly more than expected. How long can this go on?

It's not likely the economy will die in one fell swoop. There are centuries of economies of scale and a multitude of expertises that civilization depends upon; a legacy of assets including intellectual capital, a healthy and a well-educated labor force.

Unless civilization itself were overturned or refashioned (say, by some epochal shift in economic incentives -- eek, I think we've seen about three in the past few years), all this machinery will shake, rattle and roll on. At some point, it won't be necessary to "deleverage human capital" any further -- the demand for goods and services of the ordinary business of life are too great (how much more so in a world that is still developing?). However, we sense that expecting a reversion to historical norms (in composition of work force if not employment rates) would be presumptuous, considering the sheer scale of economic events in just the past decade.

Presidents don't make economies. History does. But historical (and historically bad) presidencies will affect them.

Google posts unemployment data here in a way that makes it easy to use, especially for doing state-by-state comparisons historically.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

2:01 AM  

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