“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

By: Mark Thornton
Unemployment rate

Unemployment rate

Unemployment rate

Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities came to mind this morning as I drove to work listening to the unemployment report on the radio. The report indicates that the official unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level in almost 50 years. Reporters have been quick to move from this “good news” to the fact that President Trump “leaked” the information via Twitter an hour before the report was released in violation of federal rules. My own thoughts turned to the fact that when the actual unemployment rate is below the “natural rate” that it is a signal of recession or economic crisis right around the corner. This is shown in the graph where unemployment bottoms out just before the onset of the next recession (in gray). Dickens published A Tale in 1859 just before the American Civil War and it was about the coming of the French Revolution….

  

  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. (Wikipedia)

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