Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's Only a Greater Threat Than Terrorism

“Nearly everybody has been caught by surprise at the speed in which unemployment is increasing, and are groping for a response,” said Nicolas Véron, a fellow at Bruegel, a research center in Brussels that focuses on Europe’s role in the global economy.

Modestly, it seems, "nearly everybody" hasn't included us. So far.

Just last week, the new United States director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told Congress that instability caused by the global economic crisis had become the biggest security threat facing the United States, outpacing terrorism.

Unemployment in Britain is expected to rise to 9.5 percent by the middle of 2010, from 6.3 percent now, according to Peter Dixon, an economist with Commerzbank in London. Germany’s jobless rate could rise to 10.5 percent from 7.8 percent, he added.

Keep in mind, all these numbers are often and regularly intentionally understated by around half (give or takebecause they omit the previously and long-term unemployed. Compare U3 to U6 and note correlations so helpful to understating the case with uncanny symmetry.

On the other hand, some genius at JP Morgan is apparently helping to clarify the picture by exponential overstatement of the bubble collapse.

SOURCES: New York Times, Nelson D. Schwartz;  The Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz.