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Dec 15, 2006


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lies, damned lies and statistics.

Statistics are like swimsuits, what they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is often vital.

I doubt a comparison with 67 that didn't show some modest improvements would be accurate. But I see nothing here that makes the claims made by Krugman misleading. Wages for lower-skilled workers have been stagnant, with the return to completion of highschool declining and the completion of college and additional training increasing due to technological changes and increased int'l competition and a decline in unionism.



Michael W. Kruse

"Statistics are like swimsuits, what they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is often vital."


Another of my favorites is "It is easy to lie with statistics. It is even easier to lie without them."

I look forward to reading Reynolds book. It has been a long time since I looked at numbers about these things extending that far back. My memory (which is always a danger to trust) is that real wages experienced a significant increase in the years leading up to about 1970, give or take a couple of years. But from the Early 1970s to early 1980s they got hammered, not reaching the c. 1970 high again until the mid 1990s as I recall. So if you start 1977-1982 vs 1967 you will get a far different story.


I also like statistics and sausages. You don't really want to know what goes into them...

The 1970s started to disconnect the overall economy and the poverty rate, but it was 1982 that is a key date for changes in labor markets. It also is when the likely years of job tenure declined significantly, though it took some years for us to realize that a change had taken place in the public mindset.


Michael W. Kruse

I am not convinced there has been a change in job tenure.

David Francis:

"In 1969 the average tenure for men in the job they held for the longest period during their careers was 21.9 years. In 2002, the comparable figure was 21.4 years."

No Decline in Long-Term Employment


In 82, there was a decline in tenure and then it was stable for a number of years. I don't trust comparisons of 69 vs 2002.


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