About three months ago, I was writing about the economy using words like, “modest” and “moderate” to describe economic growth. These adjectives came from the Federal Reserve, who, in typical central bank fashion, preferred to use very “modest” terms.
“Modest” and “moderate” no longer apply. The jobs market has collapsed. This is best illustrated by the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s Labor Market Spider chart which plots a large amount of data and compares it to another time.
The gold line represents the February data. The dark blue line shows the highs from the previous expansion. By most measures, the jobs market was in better shape than that from 2007.
One month later, a majority of the data is worse.
And one month later …
A majority of the indicators were a shadow of their totals from two months prior.
And that’s not all:
The percentage of the population that is working relative to the civilian population ratio is the lowest its been since the 1950s.
The labor force participation rate is now near levels from the 1960s.
Most job gains from this expansion are gone.
Hopefully, we’ll see a solid and quick rebound that lets most of these people get back to work. But I’m deeply concerned that the swiftness and breadth of the collapse mean we’ll see a far slower recovery.