“The Rising Waters” is even more salient now than when Carl Hassmann drew it in 1906. Then, as now, American society was in a desperate state, thanks to decades of the rich getting richer and leaving everyone else behind. The Gilded Age had created vast industrial wealth while consigning millions to exploitative working conditions and poverty. Landed security became more elusive as labor-saving machinery displaced rural folk and opportunities to homestead shrank with the “closing” of the American frontier. Cities became clogged with Americans seeking the respectability and comfort that came with new white-collar jobs. Continue reading
For those interested in the condition of the US economy, I highly recommend the detailed set of interactive graphics that the New York Times published online yesterday. CLICK ON THE IMAGE OR HERE TO VIEW. The graphics compile data on almost all the private-sector jobs in today’s economy, depicting how each of 255 sectors has fared since the economic downturn and giving figures for the average pay in each sector and the total number of jobs lost or gained.
Every time I see graphics of this quality, I wonder why the US government is incapable of producing statistical summaries that are as timely and as accessible to ordinary people. While the government collects an enormous amount of data on almost every aspect of our economy and society, its performance is terrible when it comes to making facts about our country readily available on the internet for everyday use.
Many thanks to Jeremy Ashkenas and Alicia Parlapiano of the New York Times for designing a set of statistical representations that are so beautiful, informative, and easy to read.
The graphics show which sectors of the economy have recovered or never suffered a loss. Others are newly created and growing (e.g. electronic shopping). The oil and natural-gas sector, with many high-paying jobs, is growing great guns. Yet others like air transportation and many sectors relating to homes and home-building are continuing to suffer and even decline. The recession also accelerated the decline of certain ailing parts of the economy (such as traditional print media). Overall, it seems obvious that the recession coincided with other major shifts in the economy, such as those caused by globalism and technological developments like the digital revolution.