I’m back from the Kansas City econobloggers’ conference.  My personal highlight: I managed to extract a bet from Mike Shedlock, a.k.a. Mish.  On the fiscal crisis panel, Mish predicted high unemployment for the next ten years.  This provoked a lot of heat but little light.  Over dinner, though, Mish and I hammered out the following bet:

If the official initially reported U.S. monthly unemployment rate falls below 8.0% for any month between now and June, 2015, I win $100.  Otherwise, Mish wins $100. 

Mish based his pessimism on the implausibility of rapid job growth in construction and other key sectors.  I saw this as misleading “near” reasoning – and took the “far” road instead.  My position:  During the last big recession in the Eighties, the unemployment rate fell about 1 percentage-point per year after the peak.  So while full recovery is indeed about five years away, it would be very surprising if unemployment stayed at 8% or more for three years, much less five.  Where will the new jobs appear?  If I knew that, I’d probably be investing in them instead of blogging about my bets!