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The Sciences

Job numbers, real vs. relative

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanFebruary 10, 2009 3:10 AM

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One of the things that really irritates me is when people throw around numbers without normalization. This is a major behavioral economic issue, Robert Shiller suggests that the inability to tell the difference between nominal & real values is one of the major reasons the American public was convinced that real estate was a "sure thing" investment. People confused the nominal rise in housing values with real increases, and didn't have an intuitive sense how weird the last 10 years were in the long-term perspective. In any case, Calculated Risk has a post on Job Losses During Recessions, with two important charts: Absolute Job Loss Numbers:

job-losses-post-ww2.jpg

% Change Job Losses:

JobLossesPostWarII.jpg

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