Thursday, July 02, 2009
The unemployment rate is at 9.5%, the highest it has been since August 1983, the summer after I graduated from college. I was between Princeton and law school, and found a job selling something called The International Directory of Software over the telephone to "data processing centers" around the country. My classmates who were looking for real jobs that year generally got slaughtered, unless they were engineers. We've been running scared ever since, especially compared to people who graduated during the boom that followed.
I wonder what effect this economy will have on today's graduating seniors? I bet they learn to be very competitive and aggressive and that those habits stick with them for the rest of their careers. The college class of 2009 is going to have it rough, but that will make them tough.
"Are green shoots sprouting?
Poison ivy and hemlock
New lows coming soon."
That's pretty good.
"I bet they learn to be very competitive and aggressive and that those habits stick with them for the rest of their careers."
Well. Some of them will. The rest will probably head back home to their parents or shack up with four room-mates while they wait tables and complain.
'Millenials' are pretty fragile, you see. The emo generation of cutters and whiners. I'm not confident of their staying power in the face of failure.
As a member of rthe class of 1991, graduating in a job crunch had and has a profound impact on me. Years later, that served me well in a career in big law. Associates ask me all the time what do when its hard to get work. The answer is always the same -- do whatever you can to make yourselves useful.
I graduated high school in '74. Recession. College in '78. Stagflation and double digit mortgage rates. I got my Architects license in '87 and had a few good years until being out of full time work for 18 months in '91. My income was down 60% in a year. Now my son is going through the same thing having graduated the police academy into President Obama's Depression. He was thinking of going back to the University to finish off his degree in Criminology but they cut admissions by 4,000 due to California budget crisis.
Any family problem that can be fixed with money is not a problem. When the doctor tells you there is nothing medical science can do to help, now that is a real problem.
I graduated college in '82, and it took 15 months to land a crappy, not-quite-full-time job in an unrelated field. The experience has left me very conservative -- I won't leave a job unless I have another one lined up; I'll put up with lots of crap to stay employed (note: current employer is the best I've had, so the crap is largely in the past); and I rarely say no to freelance opportunities.
Of course, parental example plays a big role, too: my folks both grew up in the '30s, and the joke was they taught us kids the value of the dollar by teaching us the value of a nickle 20 times. That skill came in handy during the early '80s; don't know how many of today's college grads have it.
I just graduated from an Ivy League college magna cum laude. I started applying for jobs back in January, and only got a job yesterday (at least it's one in my field, but it's only temporary, so I may have to go through this all over again in a few months). Another major concern for me is that I'm sure there will be A LOT of students both from the '09 and '10 classes applying to grad school (like me - Ph.D in history hopefully) in the fall, which will make it even harder for us poor '09 folks to get into good grad schools, so we'll continue to be hurt by this recession...forever.
I remember the 1981-1984 recession well. I was in Wisconsin at the time and unemployment got to be over 11 percent. I had to leave the state to find a job. Still, even then there was a feeling that it would be over.
Now, I just don't see anything to lead to a revival of the economy. The consumer is going to be tapped out by existing personal borrowing and the weight of taxes to pay for our massive federal debt. Business isn't going to invest because of Obama's insane energy and corporate tax plans. I think that next year we're going to look back on 8.0 percent as a low unemployment rate.
I'm not so optimistic.
Kids are going to have it rough, but they are being told by our news and president that it ISN'T THEIR FAULT. Would you work hard if everyone was telling you that success is being denied by the mean Wall Street Cronies that destroyed the economy?
I wouldn't. I'd just call on the government to save me more.
This will not be a pull-up-by-the-bootstraps generation.
This will be a sure-we'll-give-away-all-our-freedoms-in-exchange-for-crumbs generation.
We'll have a government bureaucracy expanding to meet the needs of the expanding government bureaucracy.
Then, at some point there will be a tax revolt -- but without any reduction in spending. Then, the USA will fall into bankruptcy and implode like every nation before it that has behaved like this.
The report says that the average workweek fell to a record low, 33 hours, which says to me that the unemployment rate still has plenty to run. If employers are keeping marginal people around, just in case some orders come in, then as the economy continues to flounder and business owners become convinced growth is still some distance off in the hazy future, those marginal people will be let go. Can a nearly 12% unemployment rate be far off?
Combine this news with the Chinese issuing a clear warning to us yesterday on our currency (they are strongly against inflation, not surprisingly), and international warnings last week from Russia and Germany that US taxes are already very high, and one begins to wonder when the clueless fools in the administration will catch up with what the rest of the world already seems to realize.
When will President Obama start to understand there will be no "health care bill" or a "cap and trade bill" or any new spending bills at all.
We're out of money, and need to reduce our governmental spending. Not opinion. Fact. We need a government that supports growth, and can undo the mess the Obama administration has created.