Economic Ignorance

Writing about finance, one thing I’ve noticed is that few things get people angry quite like good economic news.

When an economist says the economy is doing well, you can be sure to hear a person object. They’ll point out that someone they know isn’t prospering.

The difference is that economists speak of dry aggregates while non-economists reflect on narratives.

Consider some stats:

We’re currently in the 125th month of an economic expansion, which is a record.

We’re in the 128th month of a bull market, also a record. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low.

We currently have the lowest peacetime unemployment rate in 70 years.

We just had the best nine-month start to a year since 1998.

Yet these facts make some angry people even angrier.

The Wall Street Journal notes today how little people know of the economy.

Only about a fifth of the population knows the Fed aims for 2% inflation, a survey by academics Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko and Michael Weber published by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed, with four in 10 saying the Fed targets 10% or more inflation.