Here's an interesting picture showing the rate of unemployment now versus the much compared Great Depression of roughly eighty years ago. I always considered our unemployment numbers to be way understated, as many people are either underemployed or gave up searching for jobs paying market wages. Not only in places like Bellingham, where jobs requiring degreed workers are virtually non-existent, but I've found the same to be true in places like Cincinnati, where the erosion of the manufacturing base led to the elimination of related jobs in everything from IT to HR.
There are many scary facts regarding the specter of the Great Depression (such as: "...in terms of living standards, real per capita personal consumption expenditures did not recover to their 1929 level until 1941, giving American consumers 12 years of living standards lower than they had become used to), but I you don't need to dig too far beneath the surface of the mainstream media to see that strange things are afoot. Anyone seeking their news from Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. is in for a big surprise.
And another interesting fact stated in this same blog is that to achieve income parity of the industrialized world with the emerging economies, income levels in the former will predictably decline while the latter's increase as a much greater driving economic force, versus the debt laden, overspent Americans. The productivity increases of the economy over the past decades are coming to fruition in all aspects of overproduction, from houses to vehicles to clothes to degreed job candidates.
I can envision a trend evolving where frugality once again becomes the norm, versus our current overconsumption and waste. And unlike the GD, jobs today continue to be offshored at alarming rates, so there really will really not be much of a rebound and recreation of these jobs in 2011 or beyond. I know many that are taking a defensive position (myself included) to stave off the impending crises through actions like reducing debt.
Some day I will write again about sunsets and beaches and sailing and mountains, but my interest in the economy has been all encompassing. Today was perfect weather where the snow that I woke up to was melted by three p.m. And tomorrow I will wake up with some pain, I'd imagine, as I took a spill on my cruiser after hitting an ice patch on the bike trail. Of course I wiped out in front of a group of eight young kids with their parents. "Don't try this at home," I told them. I think it looked worse than it felt. We'll see.