Friday, July 11, 2008

Weak Sun, Pessimism, Unemployment

I saw, today, a graph of the United States' unemployment for the past few decades.

It hit me rather quickly that the peaks and troughs of this graph are almost exactly the opposite of the highs and lows of the solar activity cycle. Unemployment is highest when the sun is less active (and thus the Earth is cooler).

High unemployment peaks centered in 1961, 1975, 1983, and 1997 match up with the solar activity troughs centered in 1964, 1975, 1986, and 1995. Low unemployment valleys centered in 1969, 1979, 1989, and 2000 line up with solar activity peaks centered in 1968, 1980, 1990, and 2001.

Perhaps it has to do with pessimism brought on by the lower temperatures and "bad" weather. After all, it's well-known in real estate that the market is hottest in the spring and summer, when folks are all rosy-eyed about their future in their brightly lit new homes. In the winter, people hunker down.

And so, with longer winters and cooler summers, business owners stay hunkered down, hiring fewer people. Unemployed men and women are less inclined to go out searching for new jobs.

So, what does this tell us about the near future?

We are at an (extended) extreme low in solar activity. Unemployment should be rampant. In fact, it peaked in 2003, but then dropped till 2007, but is now back on the rise. I guess our economy had been doing better than usual.

I predict that unemployment rates in the United States will continue to rise until the sun kicks into gear again, which might be tomorrow or might be 2010. The peak of solar activity will likely be in 2012, which will thus be a low in unemployment.

I further predict politicians to claim responsibility for the reduced unemployment in the coming years, especially in the 2012 elections.

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