“A glance out the window shows blue sky,” Gregg Easterbrook writes in the New York Times (5/12/16). (Graphic: Matt Chase)
“When Did Optimism Become Uncool?” wonders a New York Times Sunday Review piece (5/12/16) by Gregg Easterbrook. “The country is, on the whole, in the best shape it’s ever been in,” Easterbrook writes. “So what explains all the bad vibes?”
It would be easier to be optimistic if the case for optimism didn’t involve so much manipulation and misrepresentation.
Take some of Easterbrook’s major points:
- “Job growth has been strong for five years, with unemployment now below where it was for most of the 1990s, a period some extol as the ‘good old days.’”
The broadest measure of employment is labor force participation—the number of people working or actively looking for work compared with the working-age population—which has been on a downward trend since the “good old days” of the 1990s. Back then, it fluctuated between 66 and 67 percent; it’s currently 62.8 percent.
Labor Force Participation Rate (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)