Thursday, March 05, 2009

Charting the Numbers - Portrait of the Crash of '08

"It is a snowball, and the snowball is going downhill, and it's going downhill fast." - Granholm 3/4/09

In this decade, we have climbed from a low of 3.2% in Feb-Mar 2000, had hit 6.7% by Jan 2003, hovered right there at around 7% for five or so years - until the bottom started falling out in May 2008. Nothing like a chart to show just how dramatic the drop has been. Here is what the Crash of '08 looks like for Michigan:

This didn't resize very well, and I don't feel like making a new graphic. Check the nice one out at BFM.

It's the auto industry, stupid.

By the end of 2010, the auto industry will employ fewer than one-third of the workers it did just 10 years earlier, Fulton said. If their forecast is right, it would mean 2010 would mark the 10th straight year of employment declines in Michigan. The economists said their projections show some "modest" job gains in 2011.

The Republicans would dearly love to shift the blame for all of this on Democratic leadership, but nothing the state did or didn't do could cause an increase like that. This is a the product of the combination of a manufacturing based economy, coupled with a deep national recession.

The U.S. recession, which entered its second year, is already the longest in a quarter-century and is likely to stretch well into this year, many analysts forecast. The fact the country is battling a housing collapse, a lockup in lending and the worst financial crisis since the 1930s makes the downturn especially dangerous, economists say.

"It's just too many strikes for the Michigan economy for it to head anywhere but down," said George Fulton, a University of Michigan economist.

The national numbers come out tomorrow - and they won't be pretty either. Bet the chart will look a lot like that one above. There is a slight glimmer of hope for a rebound though... maybe...

"In January, job reductions in manufacturing were substantial," said Rick Waclawek, director of DELEG’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. "A good portion of these job cuts were due to temporary layoffs. High inventories led to the extension of December holiday plant shutdowns into the month of January."

Will they go back to work in March? Good question. Better grab all that stimulus money that we can and put it to good use just to make sure. It won't fill the hole completely, but it will alleviate some of the pain.