Archive for the ‘Chart of the Day’ Category

Dylan Matthews (Wonkblog) has a wonderful collection of 40 charts that convey a lot of information.  One of my friends refers to me as a “glass one-quarter full” guy. I must admit, these charts make me feel like the glass may be more than half full. An example:


The news is not all good (see charts on climate change, for example). But as a generalization, we seem to be living in extraordinary times.

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On December 18, Gallup released its latest results from a poll conducted December 5-8. “Seventy-two percent of Americans say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question.”jlaajnj50uiqlfbphys0qq

I am sure it is tempting to attribute this to the government shutdown and the drama surrounding the roll out of the Affordable Care Act website. But the slope change came in 2009 (see the graph). I would have expected the concerns over big business to remain steady or increase since the financial collapse, given the sluggish recovery and the bad press that business has received (remember the Occupy movement, the debates over corporate tax avoidance and the Buffett rule, the attack on all things Bain in 2008). But the fear of big business has fallen steadily (organized labor has remained inconsequential).

Bottom line: a record percentage of Americans appear to agree with Ronald Reagan, who remarked that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

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The Labor Department released the newest employment report. Unemployment ticked up to 7.3 percent in October [insert causal connection to government shut-down, the Tea Party, etc., here]. The chart of the day, however, is the labor force participation rate (h/t zerohedge).

Participation Rate_0

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 204,000 jobs were added in October. However, a more striking statistic: “The civilian labor force was down by 720,000 in October. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent over the month.” In the last year, the number of unemployed has fallen from 11.7 million to 11.3 million whereas the number no longer in the workforce has increased from 88.2 million to 91.5 million.

To place things in perspective, the last time the labor force participation was this low was 1978.

UPDATE: Brad Plumer (Wonkblog) has a useful piece today on the dropping labor force participation rate with several good links.

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Edit: The source for the donations data is opensecrets.org; the source for the personal income data is the BEA.

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