Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More panic about jobs

This CNN article capitalizes on economic panic by saying, "Nearly 2.6 million jobs were lost during 2008, the highest yearly total since the end of War War II in 1945."

So let's break this down.

According to this page, the U.S. population in 1945 was estimated at 132,481,000.
The U.S. population in 2007 was estimated at 301,621,157.

So the 2007 U.S. population was about 2.28 times bigger than it was in 1945.

In 1945, losing 2.6 million jobs would have been 1.96% of the total population.
In 2007, losing 2.6 million jobs would have been 0.86% of the total population.

Yeah, it SUX big time for those 2.6 million people. It's a HUGE number. The horrendous pain of losing a job has happened in MY family in 2008. In addition, I myself am currently underemployed and thankful I have any job at all.

But in terms of proportional panic, we're nowhere near the job crisis of 1945. To be proportional, we'd have to lose 5.9 million jobs in one year. We're not there yet, so let's try to keep the panic to a proportional response too. Things are not as bad as they could be, and probably not as bad as they have been in the past. News media needs to stop screaming about panic and HELP us keep things in perspective, not scare us to death.


Jenny O. said...

The article doesn't say anything about the current situation being similar to the 1945 situation, just that this is the highest yearly total since that year. Yes, a highest yearly percentage might be more accurate in terms of how it currently affects us, but they still are only stating a fact. It's the highest number of jobs lost since 1945- that is important information. That means more jobs are being lost now than in previous recessions, which is information I did not know and was glad to be made aware of. ( Glad may not be the word. Sad, really.)

Also, you mention that the media should help keep things in perspective. I can see your point,and I think it would help if more accurate comparisons between previous crises were made. But this article does point out that we should not panic.

I am a member of the media ( although a very small member of a very small media :) ) and I think we often get targeted for scaring people. I think the real issue is that the world can often be frightening and it is a reporters job to report on it all- the scary and the not-so-scary. I do not, however, disagree that some media outlets use fear tactics and it is despicable. I, too, wish we could see more of the positive news and at my newspaper, we try to do just that.

Gosh, I hate that my first post on your blog is so lengthy and contrary. I really enjoy what you write and just wanted to add my two cents on the "media" subject. Please understand that I don't intend disrespect. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinion and yours is clearly an educated, well-thought out opinion.

Jenny O. said...
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