Friday, August 10, 2012

Economic Fear Driving Productivity

August 9, 2012
An Economist Explains How Fear Drives Productivity

Here’s a depressing thought: America’s productivity is rising on the backs of scared office workers.

Click to enlarge.

Note the two exponential trend failures. The first saw pessimistic exponential growth in layoffs and discharges. It eventually failed (after going parabolic!). The second saw optimistic exponential decay in layoffs and discharges. It too eventually failed.

I strongly believe that the next exponential trend on this chart will be one made of pessimism. I just can't say when it will happen. It might already be happening.

Click to enlarge.

When will the optimistic trend in quits fail too? I highly doubt that we will *ever* get back to 2.2% per month. Let's just put it that way.

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Layoffs and Discharges / All Employees
St. Louis Fed: Quits / All Employees


MaxedOutMama said...

I always thought that productivity simply measured a bad economy. When businesses are pulling back, productivity rises.

You don't do the spec stuff. You cut back on research and development projects. Everybody has to pay their way.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I think you are right, but I would add that bad morale can eventually lead to poor productivity. I saw that first hand at my last company. I left like a rat would leave a sinking ship.

I'll never forget what the General Manager told me in an effort to get me to change my mind.

"Of course employees are our #1 priority, it's just that other things are more important right now."

I didn't reply to that. There was simply a long silence until he conceded my point, lol. Sigh.

There were so many layoffs.