Hey, CBS! Way to Pay Attention!

I just had to make a couple of comments about this CBS News report five days ago.

At the three minute mark, Scott Pelley says “One thing we noticed today is how stubborn unemployment has been.” Nice of you to notice, Scott.

They then put up a chart showing the last ten recessions and Scott says:

“All you need to notice here is how they are mostly V shaped.”

Here is the chart.


All you need to notice is that they are indeed mostly V shaped, which means that they are not all V shaped.  Oddly, the two that are decidedly not V shaped are the two previous to the most recent.  Note that the up slope of the recent downturn is very similar to the up slope of the previous two.  It is just that the recent recession was so much deeper than the others it is a longer way up.

Given that CBS News “just noticed” the stubborn unemployment, I guess it may take some time for them to notice the trend of the past three recessions.

Bill McBride at Calculated Risk (where I got the graph) attributes the slow job recovery “to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis.”

I am not aware of McBride’s explanation (if any) for the previous two slow job recoveries.


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