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Robert Reich and Paul Krugman have it right.  This is the most terrible depression!  Through conversation with charliehiphop it has become apparent that the reality of our economic malaise is much greater than I had previously thought.

And the only thing that you need to look at to determine just how bad it still really is is to look at the Labor Force Participation Rate.

Here is the historic graph

This graph represents the pecentage of the u.s. population that is actively participating in the u.s. workforce.  The ability of the Bureau of Labor Statistics to slough off large numbers of citizens from the "active" rolls (350 thousand last month!) allows it to leave unemployment rates artificially low.  In the early 1990's we didn't do this and it was fairly clear that unemployment would be much higher today if we were measuring it the same way that we did.

Notice how each time the participation rate went down we were in a recession?  The double dip one of 1990-1992 and the first bush recession of 2000-2004.

now look at the slope of the decline of the most recent recession since 2007.  See how much greater it is. and how consistent it is?  From March of 2008 to present we are seeing the most rapid and consistent decline in labor force participation than we have seen in modern times.

Robert Reich and Krugman are correct, the Great Recession is much much worse than is being let on.  The obvious implications for future housing values and the potential for European economic Contagion shows that we are in for a continued significant economic downturn.

for historical perspective here is the county-level unemployment increase month by month during the second bush recession.  

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