Leonhardt's fascinating column is reverberating. My thoughts here. Felix Salmon summarizes:

  • In 2008, only 13.2% of the labor force was unemployed at some point. That compares to 18.1% in 1980, and 22% in 1982.
  • Real wages, which normally fall during recessions, have risen in this one. Even nominal wages are up.
  • The mancession is over: “male employment has risen by almost one million this year, while female employment has fallen by 300,000".

Salmon still finds cause for concern:

The problem is that persistent unemployment at or around 10% isunacceptable in the U.S., especially with the social safety net beingmuch weaker here than it is in Europe. Leonhardt is right thatEuro-style safety nets aren’t particularly innovative, but they do atleast keep people housed and clothed and fed and living outside poverty— reasonable expectations for anybody to have, I think, in the richestcountry in the world.

Tyler Cowen puts his two cents in. Heather Horn throws more voices in the mix.

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