April 6, 2009

10% unemployment in America is a given. How high do you think it will go?

10% is for sure.

11% - likely

12% - probably

15% - possible

20% - we've been there before

So, before we level off, how high will the (official and laughably inaccurate) unemployment rate rise?

Keep in mind, the government's data is a joke. It doesn't include independent contractors and self-employed. It doesn't include cash-based tax avoiders (i.e. realtors, bartenders, parking lot attendants, drug dealers and strippers - you know, Phoenix). It doesn't include the millions and millions and millions of illegals. It's just those salary people - you know any?

So, what does an America with 15% unemployment look like?

What does a Mexico with 25% unemployment look like?

What does a Spain with 30% unemployment look like?


Andrew from Russia said...

The government data is OK. Just look at the picture you've posted: can you expect such a DISCIPLINED variety of unemployment in the 21st century? Unless you can confirm that everyone of the part-time/self-employed/cash-only-black-market crowd will line up for a job like that, these groups have been left out of the statistics for good.

Anonymous said...

What was the official unemployment of the Great Depression? How was that metric different in how it is gathered now? Whatever the answer would be, given those two questions, the answer to how high I think it will go, is, higher. I turned 65 last Monday, and I've been dreaming since age 3 that I would live through something to be called the Greater Depression. I was 'told' in those dreams to learn to do many things that 'people might not be able to get anymore and no longer know how to get those things for themselves'.
Very non-electric skills, very appropriate to 1880's-1930's. I have spent my life learning those things as well as a good traditional, well rounded curriculum.

Grandma PKK

Anonymous said...

we're already at 15% based on numbers that include marginally employed and those who've given up.

Wind Farmer said...

I'm always glad when grandma ppk checks in. She speaks the truth quietly. I know of these dreams.
I know not how it ends.

My grandma used to talk about the hobos coming to the backdoor (never the front), hat in hand, asking for a sandwich. I think that +20% is certainly feasible. We will see many white collar professionals who don't really know how to do anything.

Anonymous said...


bloomburg article reported a 15.6% "underemployment" number today...which includes people without jobs who are not looking.

Anonymous said...

I do not know why people on this blog keep thinking that the power grid would collapse due to an economic depression (learn "non-electric" skills). I think if society collapses to the point that the power grid no longer works we all dead anyway - it does not matter if you can grow a few peppers on your 1/7th acre plot.

They can keep the power on in third word countries that are already "collapsed" so to speak. This fallacy that we are all going back to the stone age and are going to need skills that reflect that is a load of survivalist bs and even then you might have your garden and guns but you have to sleep sometime and they will kill you eventually and if not there will be no clean water, etc and if you get sick and there is no functioning health care infrastructure you are pretty much as good as dead anyway.

If it gets that bad you are dead - I don't care who you are.

Mammoth said...

Yes, you are right – the electricity will never be turned off.

People who learn self-sufficiency skills are just wasting their time.

Oh, and real estate always goes up.

at least I still have work said...

who cares , 90% of people are still working.The other 10% must not be very good.Survival of the fittest.

Anonymous said...

Evolution in reverse...

Instead of weeding out the weak, events like this now burden the bright and able-bodied.

What happens when the gene pool is so corrupted that 10% of people physically able to work and smart enough to do so support 90% of the population?

Anonymous said...

what's up keith!

Once again good question!

I have been thinking about this myself living in South Floridah!! What a mess around here this place has become. The walking dead are so clueless to the fact they are next fall off and be eaten alive by society This area is soo fucked since housing, tourism and healthcare are the main drivers in this local economy!! I wish I could flip a switch and this era would be over! I do not want to waste my life in the GDII. Back to the question today. I think it will be between 12-13%. I don't have any reason for this answer to back this up. It's just a wild guess. The latest desperate trend around here is to do late night robberies involving gas station atms! two dummasses involved and one walks into the convience store while the other back up the truck. they tie a top around the atm and floor the truck till the atm goes through the window!!!

silly simple minded people in floridah!!!!

rich in fl

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

who cares , 90% of people are still working.The other 10% must not be very good.Survival of the fittest.

Actually it's more like idiocracy. Now those 10% have more time to fark and produce yet more mouth breathers.

Miss Goldbug said...

I read somewhere it was 24% unemployment during the GD.

I can easily see it going to 20% this time around.

Don't trust gov. numbers.

i've had it said...

If you use the methodology that was used during the Great Depression, we are currently around 15% unemployment. If you use the new methodology, which is what the US govt. publishes each month, it is at 8.5%.

I think we will be going to somewhere between 12%+ using the govt's current methodology. That would translate to around 25% unemployment using the GD methodology.

Pinche Villa said...

Kieth said--What does a Mexico with 25% unemployment look like?

Van Nuys.

Alan Static said...

13% at the end of 2010. This ain't close to over. Worst recession since the great depression.

Mitesh Damania said...

Only the audience on Price is Right knows how to shout "HIGHER!"

Delaware Job Hunters said...

This article makes me think of this quote, "Seasonal unemployment was found to be a state which does not have much employment, for example, rural areas."

Which reminds me that on May 6, 2009 there will be an occasion, from 8am-3pm at the Chase Center on the Riverfront for The Delaware Job Hunters Education and Networking Event. This important and timely event is being held to provide education to Delaware job seekers to improve their job search skills and gain a competitive edge in today's job market. The event will also provide attendees the opportunity to meet with local companies to learn about job opportunities. This is a FREE event.

To register for the event call Joyce Dungee Proctor at 302-504-9922 or visit www.integritycareertransitions.com and click on seminars and choose the Delaware Job Hunters event to register.

Anonymous said...

Think Mexico: 25%+

never_forget_y2k said...

Anon 10:22 is right. If only all these creative hyper-survivalists would start betting on America for a change, maybe they could come up with ways to help our economic situation instead of thinking only about how to theoretically save their own skin by MacGyvering a water purification system out of human corpses in the midst some sort of ridiculous 'Omega Man' scenario. But nope. For whatever reason it may be, hatred of real estate chumps and bankers or whatever, you guys want to watch everyone burn. Well if it happens (doubtful), I hope you're happy with the outcome. I imagine I'll get gunned down over a few scraps of gold shortly after the 'electricity goes out' myself, and it'll probably be just as well. The end of the world would be very boring if theres no TV to watch it on!!

Angry Leprechaun said...

I thought you were with Cramer and Obama? According to you a few days ago we were out of this mess. If I am missing something I apologize now.

Anonymous said...

Uh we are already at 16% unemployment....
Shadowstats.com 1 million out of work per month real numbers...check it out.

Lady Di said...

Government reported unemployment will reach 10%. Real unemployment will be closer to 20%.

I think we are at "soft" depression unemployment numbers now, but the safety nets in place i.e. unemployment, medicare, food stamps, etc. mask the effect.

JaneZ said...

WindFarmer said...
We will see many white collar professionals who don't really know how to do anything.

They seem to know how to accumulate everyone else's money pretty well, and we seem to be all too happy to give it to them.

Anonymous said...

It's so hard to find good people these days. I went to Applebees and it was totally packed- not enough servers and employees.

You all are a buncha dopes.

Singular said...

If the unemployment rate was 20% during the peak of the Great Depression, the unemployment rate will be 40% during the Greater Depression. And this is the official rate. This does not include those who've given up looking for work or those who have stopped registering for unemployment benefits or who are underemployed - working only part time because there are few full time jobs. If those are counted then the true current unemployment rate would be 20% and the future unemployment rate will peak at 60%. With this projected figure, one can see there will not be a viable economy. When the true unemployment rate soars above 25%, a nation is in dire straits, and it matters little whether the true unemployment rate is 60% or 40%. Unemployment has worsened at a very fast clip over the last year and it will accelerate in the near future. The economy will deteriorate further in tandem and some crisis will happen that will tip the economy over the precipice. The US is in a very precarious situation. Congress seems not to realize the enormity of the situation.

Stu said...

If you want to see what America looks like with 15% unemployment, just look out your nearest window and you will see it...

U6 = 14.1% unemployment as of last month, so we are already now at 15%unemployment in this country.

20% by the end of the Summer anyone?

Anonymous said...


Got gold?


Anonymous said...

I don't think the power grid will collapse due to economic collapse. I only said I dreamed of instruction to learn how to do such things as weave, spin, make soap, grow food and herbs for medicine, have a home birth, and so on. All the tools I was shown were non-electric...I am assuming there will be no electricity for some reason; a coincident event (ala Murphy's Law);perhaps a large solar flare interruption. Perhaps war. The way we have, with one stroke of the securities sword, disabled the global economy is similar to other events which have
started wars in the past. Or perhaps we'll be plunged into a dark age by a meteor strike.Pick one.

I do not believe that this time we are entering will be short term.
I think our lives are changing permanently and for generations to come. The transition will be wrenching. But in time, I think we will rebuild a satisfying enough life for the world.I am not a survivalist in the current sense of the word at all. Don't even have a gun. I was just raised with great examples of basic creativity which might be helpful. For example, I saw my father build his own service station; the building. My grandfather dug out his own basement, a bucket at a time..
My Dad built/welded me an entire playground equal to any from a public park.

Think Amish. They live a good life.

Maybe it's as simple as people being so poor they can't pay their utility bills. Every had your light or water turned off? All I know is what I'm seeing in the headlines is what I dreamt as a very young child, so I trust I'll see the rest...watch for GM closing it's doors (closing down, not bankruptcy) and the dollar
59 to the Yen.

Grandma PKK

les said...

If official unemployment goes past 12%, Social Security will be underfunded. Instead of 2041 like they projected, it will be 2010.

Just more reasons to keep the printing presses going.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grandma your dreams are really starting to scare me!!!

Anonymous said...

I think if society collapses to the point that the power grid no longer works we all dead anyway - it does not matter if you can grow a few peppers on your 1/7th acre plot.

Anon makes a good point. If life comes down to staying holed in your home with only an occasional dash out to your garden to pick a few potatos, sleeping with a gun under your pillow to ward off home invaders who want to rape and pillage, and only having rain water to drink, is life really worth living. Maybe the lucky ones will be those who are killed off early when things get that bad.

Anonymous said...

I had a dream a lot when I was a kid, too. In it I was my dad, out on his farm hunting for food. At the end of the day I would go tend my crops by hand, with a hoe and shovel. My grandfather (in the dream he would be my dad) walked up to me, shook his head, and said in German, "You have become dependent on modern technology! How will you tend crops if you can't buy a hoe? You had better learn to split stone for tools."

I told him I would rather learn to work iron. He asked me how would I get the ore in clay country? I told him I would salvage scrap from the surrounding area. He asked me what I would do after I and others depleted the scrap? I told him I would continue recycling the available metal. He asked me if I knew that iron rusts and turns to dust? I told him that by then I would be dead but I would make sure to show my kids how to split stones for tools. He agreed that would be a good idea. But he was concerned about what I would do for water.

I described how I would make a distiller out of scrap metal to purify water. He asked what I would do if there was no water, even polluted water, to be found? I told him I would increase my fresh greens intake, and that urine is sterile so I would collect that as well. He asked how my crops would grow without water? I told him that was a good point and that I would eventually have to move on to a better place.

He asked how I would go to a better place if by that point I couldn't eat and couldn't drink? I told him I would make sure to stockpile when times were good and pack out before my reserve was depleted. He asked what I would do if I ran out of my food before finding water or more food? I told him he had me there and if I had completely run out of everything I guess I would have to lay down and die.

"That is the the logical conclusion to all worrying" he stated. He pointed out that without this enlightening discussion I might have otherwise wasted my life away, and to not let the unhappened possibilities consume my thoughts. He pointed out that being careful is wise, but worrying is foolish. "If you worry about slipping on the mountain" he said, "you will never see the view from the top".

Anonymous said...

Is there a relationship between corporate bonds and job lost.


Default Count Rises to Highest Since Great Depression

Thirty-five companies defaulted in March, the highest number in a single month since the Great Depression, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

DreadlocCowgirl said...

I work for the Dept of Labor - Unemployment customer service - I am getting tons of overtime pay. I paid for my vacation to Greece this Summer.

Thanks! :-)

Anonymous said...

Look at the red line and try to image when it will bend.


Anonymous said...

Grandma pkk here; re the grid:

I guess I forgot cyberspying as a possible reason grid could go down
and I DO NOT LOOK FORWARD TO THAT...I like electricity, think we overdo it though.

CNN this morning said our grid computers have been infiltrated by software from other countries, possible for future use, as in war.

Chris said...

This is the biggest lie told to the american people.

In the great depression, the unemployment rate was simply people who did not have jobs.

so 1/4 people did not have a job.

Today the unemployment rate is people receiving unemployment checks.


So the unemployment rate is 10%.

1)People who have given up looking for work.
2)People who don't qualify for unemployment benefits
3)people who are stuck working part time who want full time
4)people who's unemployment benefits ran out. etc

If we used the great depression metrics I guarentee the true "unemployment rate" is in the 20% range

Anonymous said...

Sorry my dreams scare you; they scared me too for a long time: I've had a serious life, but always rampant curiosity and there is always something new to learn. Doing things, making things, is hallenging and actually entertaining.

There is a city in CA, Davis, where fruit is grown along sidewalks and children at play can pluck a grape or plum as they ride their bikes. If we planted food crops and flowers everywhere--no I was not a hippie--and raised 3 chickens in our back yards, we would be healthier, our environment would be lovely, and one staple, food, would be a smaller proportion of our budget.
Simple solar stuff which can be made from scrap in our house for the most part, can cut down on our electric costs.

I lived 3 blocks from an elementary school in North Portland whose adjoining baseball field and park were wheat fields at the turn of the last century. Two older people in the neighborhood, (older than me)remembered the land when it was farmed. We are surrounded by land.
If you know how to garden intensively, in the general sense of the method, 1/4 acre can grow enough food for a family of 4. A lot of food can be grown vertically. I tried growing a mini paradise in 1997 after I finished my permaculture course payed for with a small inheritance. I had a regular city yard to work with. In 6 weeks I had strawberries growing, a pittance the first year, a row of raspberry canes, herbs, tomatoes, squash, radishes, carrots, pumpkins all over my yard and the neighbors fence (they were delighted), sunflowers, flower baskets overflowing; some from seeds, some from starts, some from cuttings and slips from the neighbors. Oh, did I forget potatoes, onions, swiss chard, lettuce, cabbage, and so on?

We have been brainwashed. Those of you who are younger have no way of knowing that much of what you think is just the preferred way,not the only way. That there is great pleasure in knowing skills from the ground up. It gives you an internal sturdiness
as opposed to self esteem, (which I now longer accept as quite accurate). Having older grandparents who were born in the 1880's, and being young when life was still simple from the effects of both the Depression and the War,
and people were still using very outdated tools and implements gave me a foot in two centuries of technology. There was validity to many old ways. Of course we've come a long way, and I read re science,nutrition and health issues every day, right along with economic and do-it-yourself stuff.

But plenty of stuff worked just fine. And I've made it a personal experiment since 1995 (had an epiphany moment) to try as many of the older techniques as possible and pick the brains of those older than me (65)to see how things were done. It's been wonderful, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Chins up guys, we're about to enter the most interesting time in a long time, a very, very long time.We're going to reinvent ourselves for the umpteenth time.
Humans are so creative.

Grandma PKK