Political  Calculations

How might a stock market technical analyst see the U.S. employment situation?

For us, that's a fun question because while we don't put much stock in technical analysis, we do consider it to be a very weak form of statistical analysis, so it's not as completely useless as astrology in divining data.

In practice, there's really not much more to technical analysis other than arbitrarily connecting the dots between the peaks and troughs of data points within a trend, combined with trying to divine patterns from the data, like the infamous "head and shoulders" pattern or the equally fun "dead cat bounce".

So to make it interesting, we've opted to apply it to the month-over-month change in the number of employed Americans counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in each month since the total employment level in the United States peaked in November 2007, just one month before the economy peaked before heading into recession, and specifically, we'll use it to try to answer the question: "how much of the jobs recovery can be attributed to policies implemented during President Bush's administration, and how much can be attributed to policies implemented during President Obama's reign in office?"

Here's what we find:

Month Over Month Change in Number of Employed Americans, November 2007 Through August 2012

In the chart, we're applying Mark Thoma's effectiveness lag for determining when a particular policy to take effect after being put into place. According to Professor Thoma, once a fiscal or monetary policy has been put into place by the U.S. government or the Federal Reserve, it takes anywhere from 6 to 18 months for its effect to impact the U.S. economy.

Political Calculations

Political Calculations is a site that develops, applies and presents both established and cutting edge theory to the topics of investing, business and economics.

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