25 September 2008

Boomer Memory of Unemployment

There's a reason we're struggling with understanding the nation's need for an economic bail-out: it's been a long time since Americans experienced the type of extreme conditions that warrant such action. (It's been 75 years since the U.S. felt unemployment at 25%.)

Boomers have known inflation, stagflation, recession, boom, and bust. But for the most part, we don't understand the pressures currently on Wall Street and the economy. See chart above for the unemployment percentages boomers have known first-hand and those they've only heard about.

There is actually greater intelligence among us on the subject: some boomers in certain states remember unemployment percentages in the 1980s reaching the teens, higher than the national averages displayed above for the early '80s. But the typical boomer memory is limited to unemployment that wasn't much higher than today's. We don't share our parents' and grandparents' experience with sharp increases in joblessness.

On a personal note. I have seen a change in my investments and I have had to make an employment decision on the basis of housing costs. Daily, I am aware of the increases in gas and food costs. But I am certain I do not grasp the complexity of our financial crisis. Impending doom is still hard to get my hands around.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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