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things have really been in decline since 1980?
Since 1984, it would appear.  That was about when the process of sending manufacturing overseas in the USA really took off, and it was just after the whole bubble economy got started.  Perhaps subsequent unemployment was masked by revisions and extensions to employment categories by the BLS, (after all, the population did continue to grow,) and by significant growth being in the "underground economy."  The early 80s was also when "illegal immigration," especially from Mexico, really increased, and a lot of these workers went into the "informal" economy, such as my former gardener in L.A.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 10th, 2009 at 01:19:31 AM EST
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