Meanwhile, deleveraging of household balance sheets since the high debt levels of 2007 has been mild. The result is yet another way to see how deeply consumer demand is restrained: there’s not enough work to both pay down debt, and restart consumption.
Until the US confronts the reality of health care costs, and the outstanding debt levels of households, there should be little expectation that sectors like housing will see much of any recovery. While its true that reduced consumption more generally, compared to the excesses of the past few decades, is a long-overdue change that the US economy sorely needs, it is also true that any desired shift to a more productive economy in which output rises faster than consumption will not likely occur on the back of part-time work. It sounds so boring to say: the US economy needs a return of high-paying, full-time jobs. If this does not occur soon, the associated political unease will continue to fester and a new conversation about health-care policy, one that is less partisan(?), will have to ensue.http://gregor.us/http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2012/04/p ... .html#more
The above shows the unemployment rate for the five "PIIGS" countries. The data (from Eurostat) begin in 2005 and run through Feb 2012 except for Greece which only goes to Dec 2011.
None of these countries have put their troubles behind them. You can argue that Ireland appears to have at least stabilized its unemployment rate. The rest all appear to be worsening - Greece, Spain, and Portugal are all deteriorating at fairly dramatic rates. These countries are in the grip of an event on the scale of the Great Depression.
These countries are in the grip of an event on the scale of the Great Depression.