From the APP Opinion Page:
There’s a reason why the number of economist jokes seems to rival the number of lawyer jokes. Economists are in the habit of making pronouncements that are so far removed from the real lives of real people as to be laughable.
Take the proclamation from Rutgers University researchers last week that New Jersey has emerged from the recession and will reach its pre-recession employment peak in 2016. OK, if the recession can be reduced to a series of mathematical equations and numbers can tell the tale, then the economists are right, at least in terms of the hermetically sealed bubble in which they operate.
But even there, they have to squint their eyes and toss around phrases such as “jobless recovery,” an oxymoron if ever there was one. And even if jobs are what those practitioners of the “dismal science” refer to as a “lagging indicator,” waiting until 2016 before employment levels get back to where they were hardly seems worthy of breaking out the party hats and champagne bottles.
People are still hurting, mortgages are still under water, jobs are gone that are not coming back.
Silver linings are hard to find. Yet consensus is something and the consensus among these Rutgers folks is that the worst is behind New Jersey.
It’s going to be a long, slow slog back to economic health and wealth. But the journey has to start somewhere. Maybe with a semi-rosy prediction from the number crunchers.