Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Lost Decade

by Bill McBride on 12/20/2009 06:31:00 PM

We've discussed this several times, and I expect to see a number of articles about the lost decade for the stock market and employment over the next few weeks.

From the WSJ: Stocks' 'Nightmare' Decade

In nearly 200 years of recorded stock-market history, no calendar decade has seen such a dismal performance as the 2000s.

Investors would have been better off investing in pretty much anything else, from bonds to gold or even just stuffing money under a mattress.
...
It edges out the 0.2% decline stocks suffered during the Depression years of the 1930s, which up until now held the title of worst decade.
...
To some degree these statistics are a quirk of the calendar, based on when the 10-year period starts and finishes. The 10-year periods ending in 1937 and 1938 were worse ...
This is definitely a "quirk of the calendar", but is has been a difficult 10 years.

On employment, there were 130,532,000 payroll jobs in December 1999, and 130,996,000 payroll jobs in November 2009; an increase of 464 thousand jobs. However the preliminary estimate of the annual benchmark revision "indicates a downward adjustment to March 2009 total nonfarm employment of 824,000". So it appear there will be fewer payroll jobs at the end of the aughts than at the beginning.

Of course another argument is the decade actually started on Jan 1, 2001 (not 2000) and that is similar to the debate over when the millennium started and ended - but I think most people partied like it was 1999!

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