Unemployment’s Roller Coaster Ride

Not since 1949 during the postwar recession have so many workers dropped out of the labor force as they have in 2020/21 during the Covid pandemic. It’s interesting to look at the numbers alongside other dramatic events in the economic life of the US economy.

The highest unemployment in our history was 25% at the height of the Great Depression (1933). As factories retooled and produced goods in 1941 to support the European war, only 10% of workers were idle. In the ensuing years of our participation in World War II, the massive numbers of American men and women working on the war effort reduced unemployment to between 1-2% for three years, and as low (1944) as 1.2%!

Although inching higher, unemployment numbers generally stayed out of the news until the ’70s when they quietly began to rise. In 1974, after OPEC demanded higher oil prices (the minimum wage was $2.00) unemployment jumped to 7.2%.

The ’80s saw the recession-inspired unemployment rate of 10.8% decline after President Ronald Reagan signed the Garn-St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 (a mouthful for the Act of Congress that deregulated savings and loan associations and allowed banks to offer adjustable-rate mortgage loans). This decade will be remembered for October 1987’s Black Monday when the Dow dropped 508 points, and millions lost their jobs.

During the ’90s with Desert Storm, welfare reform, and NAFTA the U.S. created 23,672,000 jobs, and hourly wages increased 10%. Unemployment rates sandwiched between a low of 4% and high of 7.4% and the economy grew — but so did interest rates. 

The year 2000 saw the NASDAQ reach record highs, but then the World Trade Center was attacked in 2001. The War on Terror raised unemployment and the 2008 minimum wage was raised to $6.55, and a year later to $7.25. The 2010 Republican tax cuts did little to curb unemployment until Trump won the Presidency in 2016 and the economy rebounded.

in 2019 COVID reared its ugly head worldwide. In the US, employers were forced to let workers go as government-enforced emergency rules dictated which businesses could remain open and which must close — rules were imposed at both Federal and State levels to reduce transmission of the worldwide pandemic. Even though the unemployment rate in 2021 hovers around 6%, 2020 will be remembered by most as “the year that wasn’t.”

We Americans are a resilient people. The Congressional Budget Office projects an economic expansion to return to pre-2020 levels and perhaps surpass expectations.
See the CBO Overlook 2021 to 2031.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is optimistic, and projects that housing will lead the way.

We are watching the unemployment numbers and other economic news, especially for Cincinnati and surrounds and are well prepared to serve those small businesses bravely leading the charge to prosperity. Call us at (513) 322-1036 or email info@dlmneymatters.com

What Coronavirus Can Teach Us

Everyone has had their own personal experiences with the COVID-19 virus that raged worldwide in 2020. This month, of the 330,000,000 United States population, approximately 460,000 or 1.2% of the population (as of this writing) have contracted the virus. About 2% of those have died from complications caused by the virus. 

While many were sick and too many died, no one was left untouched by its fury. What have we learned? What are the takeaways for the Coronavirus Pandemic generation? What will we tell our grandchildren? How has it changed our habits and thinking?

We’ve learned to respect data

We learned that data is a more effective communicator than personal opinions and emotions. It was the data that helped nations all over the world to make decisions, though perhaps in some cases we did not react quickly enough.

We learned that we really need one another

Science has always taught that we humans have a deep need to be around other people. A homeless man seen walking painfully down an empty street in NYC, when asked if he needed money for food or medicine, replied simply, “nope, just lonely.” We are social beings, we need one another.

We learned to love technology

From the TV news reports, to Chromebook computers handed out for homebound school kids, to FaceTime and Zoom, we stayed connected. Our devices held us together, allowed students to keep learning, educators teaching, broadcasters reporting, and families conferencing online. Live streaming and binge watching were never as popular. Technology united us.

We learned to wash our hands

We’ve always known that soap removes dirt, grime, and grease, but now we know it also destroys some bacteria, and especially viruses — as long as we wash vigorously for at least 20 seconds or as long as it takes to sing a whole verse of Happy Birthday. 

We learned that life will never be the same again

Not in our lifetime has a single worldwide event touched so many of us. Even World Wars were fought in far-off places by only a few, economic depressions recovered, dictators came and went, and even though we live in the nuclear age, we have yet to blow ourselves up.

When we grow old we will tell our grandchildren about a tiny virus no one could see, feel or touch; that brought business to its knees, shattered world economies, and shuttered the windows of socialization. Then we will tell them about our bravery, determination, and realization that we really need one another. We’ll talk about the heroes who found ways for us to survive and ultimately we’ll talk about the value of compassion, and likely…progress.

More Than Washing Hands

Humans, by nature, value human life. Since the beginning of recorded history natural disasters have been a fact of human life and often centered on the number of lives lost. The Minoan civilization around 1500 B.C. appears to have been completely obliterated by a volcanic eruption with the assumption of all lives being lost to history. More civilizations have been lost to earthquakes and floods. If Noah’s Ark is in fact historical, we can assume the loss of life was astronomical. 

In our lifetime, the Haitian earthquake in 2010 is estimated to have taken between 85,000 to  230,000 human lives, depending on what government recorded the death toll, but its devastation should not be forgotten in the saga of history. Six years earlier, the tsunami in the Indian Ocean swallowed over 200,000 unfortunate souls.

Why are these events significant in light of the current calamity of Coronavirus? Natural disasters bring out the best in human beings. By reflecting on what has happened in the past, we may more easily process how we feel today and put things in perspective. 

Washing hands: Prevention #1

Disaster helps us to understand that while nature can be destructive, life lessons of strength and resiliency can make us all better human beings. In times of crisis, we become more unified, more empathetic, and we work harder for the common good. We develop a deeper sense of spirituality and oneness in our Creator. Those who don’t believe in a God still become more generous, more forgiving, more able to overcome adversity. 

As we stay at home following the rules for “quarantine cooking” we are staying more in touch on social media. Separated families are calling one another more often to check in and express concern and affection for one another. People are donating to charities who feed children unable to go to school. The virus is making a few of us sick, but making far more of us kinder, more generous human beings. It seems as though looking out for one another is our true human nature. We are doing more than washing our hands.

Learn what our local Freestore Foodbank has to say about COVID-19.