|Click here for full size image|
The first thing to notice is the severe depth of this recession.
The second thing, the one germane to the theme of this blog, is the shapes of the curves. Notice that the longer-ago the recession, the more sharp the losses and rebounds. The more recent recessions, in contrast, have long, deep troughs. I suspect that the slower rebounds of recent years are due to lack of easily exploitable resources. If there are virgin forests and gushing oil fields for the taking, jobs will be quick to be reborn. The less that is true, the more difficult it is to regenerate jobs.
Notice the long arcs of recovery of the '01, '90, and '81 recessions. We can now tack 17 more months onto the red curve at deep unemployment, and if we use the shape of the three most recent recessions' curves to extrapolate our current recession, we may well be looking at a decade-plus of dire unemployment.