I thought I would share another does of reality tonight. I thought the most recent data from the Fed nicely summed up how bleak the jobs picture really is.
Here is the latest mean duration of unemployment data from the Federal Reserve in St Louis:
As you can see below, the most recent numbers remain stubbornly high:
Date 2010-05 2010-06 2010-07 2010-08 2010-09
Value 34.4 35.2 34.2 33.6 33.3
We are in uncharted waters when you compare mean duration of unemployment versus any other time in history since World War II. As bad as things got in the 1970's and early '80's the unemployment duration was only half of what we are seeing now.
If we really were seeing a legitimate recovery the duration should be rapidly dropping off like it did in previous recessions(as seen above).
When you really take a hard look above you realize that we really never fully recovered from the tech bubble. During the peak of the housing bubble unemployment duration remained high versus historical norms.
Today, it's a complete unmitigated disaster. It takes the average person 8 months to find work after being let go. In good times that number should be 2-3 months.
Sadly, in all likelyhood, the people who did find work jobs are not making the money they did before. Salaries drop when business is slower and you have several candidates from which to choose from.
Folks, without jobs housing cannot recover, and without housing the economy is in deep trouble.
If this was a war we would find ourselves facing gunfire from all directions:
We are stuck in homes we cannot afford, we are losing our jobs when our mortgage is higher than it ever was in the past, and when we lose our jobs it's taking forever to find another one.
If things weren't bad enough we now have helicopter Ben and the Fed flushing the currency down the toilet which is forcing us to spend what little discretionary income(if there is any) we have left on essentials like food and oil.
If this were a war I would call it "Shock and Awe". For once I think I know how the Iraqi army must have felt as they were overwhelmed from all angles.