October 04, 2004


I'm sure I skimped on the logical symbols up there, but what I'm trying to say is that map is to territory as numbers are to the economy.

I'm not an economist, but I've spent a lot of time interacting with the economy and paying attention to how it has changed. Actually, I don't like to speak of the economy as an entity. There are many economies, sectors if you prefer, and altho they interact, they do not all behave the same way. The various economies do of course have tangible effects on one another. My son takes great amusement in the large SUVs with tinted glass and twenty seven inch spinnaz, but the fact is that there has probably been as much drug money has been spent on farm tractors and combines thru the years.

The discrepancy between the job numbers produced by the Establishment Payroll Survey and those produced by the Household Survey has finally been getting attention in the last few months. I never payed attention to the Establishment survey because I never worked directly for an establishment. In fact there has never been a time when the money which supported me came from a countable job. Those whose premises are supported by the lower Establishment numbers tend to dismiss the new ways of earning a living as not being "real" jobs. I have no doubt that some of the tens of thousands of people who now support their families would really rather be back in that nice warm foundry, or working rotating shifts at the tire plant, but not many of them.

From the time Ford wanted to Whip Inflation Now into Clinton's second term, I was creating and selling specialized equipment to heavy industry. Customers manufactured primary metals, farm equipment, rail cars, machine tools, and components for suchlike items. In that time I could see for myself how things were going as compared to what the numbers said. None of them was more accurate than the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index. When it has been up for sixteen months, the overall economy may be in transition or turmoil, individual sectors may be up or down, but there is no way things are in bad shape.

Posted by triticale at October 4, 2004 09:37 PM

David Frye, back when he used to channel Richard Nixon, summed it up this way:

"A level of unemployment that is acceptable to one man may not be acceptable to the next man. Actually, it depends on whether you have a job."

I'm working.

Posted by: CGHill at October 5, 2004 10:50 AM
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