I'll take "January 2007" for 6.8 million, Alex [motionview]
In answer to any question about the economy and the 2010 election, Democratic candidates always seek to frame the debate in terms of when Barack Obama took office, not when Pelosi and Reid took office; and further that the entire economic mess was inherited from Bush.
The economic numbers framed from this start date selection are the least bad for the Democrats. Barack Obama is not running in 2010. The question in 2010 is over control of the House and Senate. When Democrats took control of those two institutions in January 2007, the S&P 500 was at 1300 on 3 years of positive growth; the annual deficit was 2% of GDP and had been decreasing for the previous 3 years, and unemployment was at 4.9%, and had not been above 6.5% since the last time Democrats controlled the House in 1994. Over the next 3 years of Democrat Congressional rule, the budget deficit soared to more than 10% of GDP, unemployment went straight up to 10.5% and has stayed above 9.5%, and the S&P500 is down to 1100.
The idea of Obama, of complete progressive governance, initiated the recession. With Dems already in control of the House and Senate, by Fall 2007 it is pretty abundantly clear that Dems would win big in 2008, with a fat majority in the House, maybe 60 in the Senate, and Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the White House. As an investor in late 2007, you ask yourself “What will Democrats, Progressive Democrats, do when they control everything?”. Even as you phrase the question you begin to limit your American exposure. Because the answer is exactly what the Democrats have done: spend, borrow, tax, regulate, promote unions, demonize business, introduce massive amounts of fear, uncertainty, and doubt into the market. Not an environment in which you want to lend money, and the credit markets began their deterioration. Nothing to do with lax regulation, Bush tax cuts, Darth Cheney, evil Republican greed unicorns, whatever. This is a “correct” market anticipation of and response to Democrat governance: a crisis of confidence in our ability to tax our descendents to pay all of our debts, in order to redistribute wealth now from America at large to Democrat interest groups – unions.
Do not accept the statists framing in this time selection – The report card for November 2010 begins in January 2007, and the grade is a big fat F. This is the Progressive’s Recession: the Democrat/Grievance Industry GSE’s planted the seeds of the disruption, the potential of Dem WH/Senate/House control started the recession, and the actuality of Pelosi/Obama/Reid, living down to expectations, is stalling any recovery.
US Bureau Labor Statistics Series ID: LNS12000000, Seasonally adjusted employment
Jan 1995, 124,663,000 employed Americans
Jan 2007, 146,032,000 employed Americans
Aug 2010, 139,250,000 employed Americans
Anticipated objection: On economic stuff we always count from the presidencies.
Answer: Yes, I understand those MFM boys are scrupulously objective in these matters.