moved into outer space in May, reaching escape velocity by soaring above market theoretical limits of a Dow of 15,000, an S&P 500 of 1,600, and a NASDAQ of 3,500--a total of 20,100. These thresholds represent the limits beyond which our New FOX Index sails. Now with the Nasdaq blasting past its 3,500 atmospheric limit by 100 points, we for the first time on a sustained basis have all three components of the Index outside the atmosphere--by a total at present of +644 (see chart).
Back on the ground, the picture is far bleaker. Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute. Eberstadt finds American real per capita output still well below its six-years-ago level. On its current track, it will be another year or more before per capita output returns to pre-recession levels, to say nothing of showing any long-term growth. For our actual economy, Eberstadt says, we are looking at a "lost decade":
the labor market. . . is basically a disaster, a crisis far worse than most commentators and policymakers seem to recognize, and with no clear prospects for appreciable improvement over the near-term horizon. Simply put, work in America has in large measure collapsed-and a recovery worthy of the name is nowhere in sight.Eberstadt writes that if we look at the employment-to-population ratio,
there has been no "recovery" whatever . . . since the Great Recession. Quite the contrary: the employment ratio today appears to be stuck at the same awful level recorded in early 2010--the worst level for more than a generation.
if our national employment ratio today were as high as in early 2000, when this measure reached its zenith, about 15 million more Americans would be working today. And remember: over 10 million of today's men and women with jobs are working fewer hours than they want to--well over twice as many as in early 2000. When we look at the jobs problem this way, we see it is vastly bigger than the official unemployment rate implies.
This means, Eberstadt tells us, a large share of working-age Americans are checking out of paid labor altogether. For in today’s America, no work at all is neither unthinkable nor unaffordable, even for adults in the prime of life.
As the stock market booms, Eberstadt warns that:
America's leadership [isn’t paying] serious attention to the collapse of work in modern America. This is an egregious oversight. Our long-term social, political, and economic health all depend upon redressing this critical flaw.