Chart of the day: The USA’s lost decade

March 2, 2010
Free Exchange reprints this fantastic chart from the Economist:

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Free Exchange reprints this fantastic chart from the Economist:


The really fascinating charts, for me, are the second two. The one in the middle shows how consumption grew a little bit faster than income through the 70s, 80s, and 90s — but then the gap between the two completely spiralled out of control in the 2000s. There’s your credit boom and inevitable crunch right there.

And I can’t help but look at the payrolls chart in the light of the anti-immigration sentiments of Lou Dobbs and the like. It’s a lot easier to welcome foreigners to your shores when your payrolls are growing by 20% a decade than when they’re shrinking.

Incidentally, I think there’s a misprint in the graphic: the third chart shouldn’t have that asterisk, since the growth rate in that one is per decade, not per year. It seems silly to do it that way, I would have made all the growth rates annual, and maybe added a population-growth or bar to the final chart.


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