A Tale of Two Graphs
|Written by John Schmitt|
|Wednesday, 15 September 2010 13:38|
Today, Ezra Klein picked up on this same point, running with this graph from a post by Invictus at Ritholtz.com:
Source: Invictus, Ritholtz.com
But there are two problems here....
The first is that the Great Recession was a lot longer than the other two. That is why the gray area marking the recession is so much thicker in the late 2000s. In effect, the graph above doesn’t give the early 1990s or the early 2000s recessions any credit for being short –because all the employment data in the chart start after the recession is over.
Source: Invictus, Ritholtz.comThe top three lines are exactly the same as the ones in the first chart. The bottom three lines, however: (1) start tracking private employment from the beginning (not the end) of the recession and (2) use the employment level immediately before –not after– each recession as the benchmark (employment at the benchmark is set equal to 100).
There is just nothing to feel good about in that second graph.