I Probably Won’t Be Dessert . . .

Justin here. Professor Jeremy Seigel recently pointed out the difference between the fear of unemployment vs the reality of unemployment here:

“The June unemployment rate touched 9.5%, and it is quite possible that that rate will eventually exceed the 10.8% rate reached in November 1982. But even if it does, unemployment will rise, at most, 2 percentage points, far less than the reported 30% to 40% of workers who fear they will be laid off. And as the economy mends, the fear of being unemployed will subside, and consumption will rise.”

Professor Seigel has forgotten more than I’ll ever know about economics, but I have to (very respectfully) disagree. I think it’s unrealistic to think that Joe Consumer could have 10-20% more friends, family, and co-workers lose their jobs and then somehow he’ll then breathe a sign of relief and start spending because some economists think that unemployment is already far above normal. I think Joe is going to pretty scared for a pretty good while.

It’s like being in a pit of lions that, on average, will eat no more than one human in a sitting. I don’t know about you, but if I’m stuck in there and two of my buddies were just eaten (mind you that’s 100% above the average), mean reversion and bell curves won’t make me any less likely to need a clean pair of underwear.

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