Two items to point out in this chart of historical interest rates:

(1) Fed Raises Interest Rates to Fight Inflation Amid Banking Crisis: Live Updates – The New York Times (

Note the incredibly sharp rise over a short period of time, at right of this chart. The Federal Reserve was about 18 months late in raising interest rates from essentially zero. This rapid and steep rise has crashed parts of the banking sector.

Interest rates peaked about 19% in the early 1980s. I have seen Gen Z saying today’s economy is awful and “Boomers” had it so good.

I graduated from college in 1980 – during the first of two back to back bad recessions.

In 1980 average interest rates (over the year) were 11.5%. The average inflation rate was 13.5%. Unemployment averaged 7.2%.

We graduated into the highest cohort of new young workers entering the workforce, competing head-to-head with each other for jobs. We could not consider taking a “gap year” to travel the world. Globalization was not yet “a thing” and postponing work was not seen positively. This was the era of the growth of college undergraduate and graduate education as “degrees” became the seal of approval that employers used to filter out the large number of applicants. (In the ’90s and ’00s, it was common for tech companies, who said they could not hire workers, to reject 99 out of every 100 applicants.)

Competition for jobs was tough as 1980 was 20 years since the peak birth year – and the maximum number of new young workers entering the workforce as we entered back to backup recessions around 1980 +/-.

This is the fertility rate in the U.S. since 1960 (peaked at 3.75). Add 20 years to each “bump” to see when that cohort was entering the workforce.

Coldstreams Skeptic