Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Long Term Income Data

Three graphs for future reference.

(1) The changes in nominal GDP for the United States from 1929 to 1947. I was interested in these data because of a graph that has been going around that shows total credit market debt as a % of GDP back to the 1920's in the United States. The image seems to indicate a level of indebtedness skyrocketing during the great depression to about 260% of GDP, currently the overall debt to GDP ratio is about 350%. The reason I got concerned has to do with the collapse of GDP from 1929-1933 as this first image shows. This means that the ratio of debt to GDP had only increased marginally during the "roaring twenties" from about 150% to about 160% of GDP. The spike is the result of bout a 50% decline in GDP from 1929-1933. Not an increase in the total amount of debt. This means the the current era (1973-present) is unprecedented in terms of the debt to GDP ratio at the start of the current downturn.

(2) I was interested in changes in prices during the depression and now. The graph above shows that CPI was relatively flat )well, a little wavy before and after WWI. Prices did decline after 1929, but they didn't collapse either. The present period (1973-2008) is unprecedented in terms of price increases.

(3) How have real wages (on average) kept up with inflation? See for yourself:

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