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« Weighing the Week Ahead: Negativity Prevails | Main | The US Budget Deficit and the Golden Goal Posts »

June 14, 2010


legitimate paid surveys

Nice post. The samples given and the charts shows the gains to loss ratio. It's really perfect for my research, it really helped alot. It's easier to discuss this in class.


Chris -- Many would agree that the regulatory requirements and uncertainty have put an extra burden on small business.

This is something that we should watch closely, You are correct about the timing of the current data, so let's watch for a couple more quarters.

Thanks for your observation.



Pete -- These are good points. The underground economy may be as much as 10% of GDP, and it is difficult to measure. I have no doubt that people supplement their incomes in this way.

It would be helpful to have a good measure, but I do not know how.

Thanks for your provocative observation -- something that I will keep in mind.



I would argue that small business has more uncertainty around it in the the form of government involvement. Taxes are always at the top of the list but now Obama social issues are scaring small business. What is your risk of adding a new employee. You are now obligated to provide a 401k plan and health insurance. I myself gave up my business and joined a larger firm and commission based employee. It did cost me some money on my bottom line but it removed uncertainty which i hold at a premium right now in these times. My business had employed four people at the time including myself. I was the only one to join the new firm since they provide the service that these employee's had handled. On an outside look at your chart, the premium disappeared right when the nasty heath care debate started.No?


Research is good, but hard data is incomplete on an essential part of the employment-unemployment continuum and indeed to a closer estimation of the Real GDP as opposed to that Reported.

As far as I can tell economists have avoided like a plague or else intoned "ceteris paribus" over the relationship between minimum wage,the welfare system and the Gray Market, the cash and barter economy, which exists not only with respect to the employment of illegal aliens, but for a long time with the movement of people from welfare to work in the recorded economy. During my time as a small business owner, very small business, in the lower income areas, I would describe from experience the Gray Market as endemic, and having a considerable effect when multiplied across the economy.

The fact is we do not know what the true rate of unemployment is nor what the true GDP is and will never know until we can characterize the Gray Market.

This comment is not meant to denigrate the wxcellent work of the Blog author. It is rather a plea for information on what appears to be a quantum mechanism.

With that in mind I leave my email address with the hope that someone can point me in the right direction rather than just to the Egress.


Pete Speer


How much of an effect has the recent trend of unemployment extentions had? Some people are collecting for over 2 years.

Very nice. I offer the following observations:
1. Some of those people who have lost jobs have started their own companies. They might not have any employees, mabye working from home. We are returning to where we were 200 yrs. ago when most people were self employed. Remember "The Waltons"? It was a depression but everybody was working, even the kids all had jobs to do.
2. Over the last 35 yrs. profit margins have fallen, but this has been masked by a speed up in transactions. Right now you are seeing a slow down in transactions, because people can't get credit. All the local banks have regulators standing right there, looking over their shoulders. Businesses can't get credit with suppliers either, it is all COD.
3. You are seeing massive uncertainty due to health care, taxes, and deficits. We will hit debt at 100% of GDP by November, 2010. So when you say, "something different is happening now," you are right.


Would it be fair to say this current employment problem is largely an effect of hours that have been cut?

Personal finance

Excellent post. The description is mad easier with help of those charts.

john personna

Were the job gains 1992-2000 tracking population growth, or exceeding it?

I assume that the static-looking period 2000-2007 was "jobless" because it couldn't climb back to track population.

A falling employment to population ration is probably not "bad" in and of itself, but with rising self-reports of un- and under-employment, it probably is.


Very timely discussion - more than five minutes, but time well spent.

As previously stated, yes, possibly just mean reversion, but the change is larger and faster than any other over 20 years. Any guesses as to how long it will take to resolve one way or another? Six months?


Andrew - You are correct in saying that it could just be variation around the mean (which is about 1.05).

I try to take my own advice (and that of Ted Williams) and stay within my "happy zone." This means a fact-based analysis and highlighting remaining questions. If I had to guess, I think it might relate to lending standards and small businesses. The problem is the timing, since the change occurs well into the recession.

Whatever the cause, I think everyone agrees that it is important to foster job growth from new businesses, so the recent shift is a negative factor.

Thanks for the good questions!



Two questions:
1. What about the other periods when the ratio was in the current neighborhood (1997-2000) and once in 2003? Perhaps the discount is a mere reversion to the mean?
2. If something unusual is happening, do you think the economic implications are positive or negative?

I appreciate your thoughtful analysis - it's refreshing to see an unbiased opinion in the blogosphere.


Mike C -- I am not sure, but I am working on it. I think the data show that everyone else has been looking at the wrong things for years.

We are looking at something that happened well after the fall of Lehman.

Good question, and I wish I had a better answer.


Mike C

Something unusual is happening within the last year.

What do you think is happening and why?

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