Pethokoukis, Economics, U.S. Economy

The 5 good news charts of 2013 — and a really terrible one

Image Credit: shutterstock

Image Credit: shutterstock

Sure hope 2014 is better, but 2013 wasn’t so bad as the US economy continued to recover following the Great Recession and Financial Crisis.

1. US industrial production –  the output of manufacturers, utilities and mines — finally surpassed its prerecession peak:


2. Americans finally felt wealthy enough to stop paying down debt. (This was the Business Insider “chart of the year.”):



3.  The US economy generated another 2 million jobs in 2013, leaving the labor market about a million jobs short of its prerecession level:


4. A growing number of those jobs were full-time rather than part-time work:


5. The US budget deficit fell sharply and should continue to decline the next few years:



So some good news, but still plenty of work to do when you look at the shrunken share of Americans with jobs:

121913employmentrate1Follow James Pethokoukis on Twitter at @JimPethokoukis, and AEIdeas at @AEIdeas.

9 thoughts on “The 5 good news charts of 2013 — and a really terrible one

  1. Something doesn’t add up – you say that we are only about a million short of the prerecession job levels but the employment-to-population ratio is still about 5% lower. That’s over 15 million fewer people working – we got 14 million people without jobs that have been vaporized by some statistician somewhere.

    These numbers smell like somebody pulled them out of there bums …

    • The population has grown the whole time, so there’s more ground to make up to get the participation rate back to normal, even when total employment surpasses its original level.

  2. Good blogging.

    There are now 12 million Americans getting month disability checks from Uncle Sam, vets and SSDI.

    Something tells me those numbers could be cut in half…and get those people working again…

  3. Baby boomers are checking out of the workforce in droves. Once they get a taste of real life they will never want to go back into the workforce, even if it means cutting back some. Those numbers stay low.

  4. Also interesting is the progression: ’81, ’90, ’01, ’07.

    A steady decline into “secular stagnation” since the rise of Reaganomics?

    That’s certainly one way to interpret what is undeniably a rising trend…

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