“US Jobless Claims Hit 19-Year High” – Financial Times, May 30, 2002
“US Productivity Rate Best in 19 Years” – AP, May 31, 2002

Productivity and Unemployment Both Going Up, So…

Washington, D.C. ( – With the latest reports showing U.S. business productivity growing at its strongest pace in 19 years, while the number of Americans filing for unemployment has also surged to its highest level in 19 years, economists today concluded that everyone should be fired.

Children should be strapped in for economics lectures
When discussing economics with children, it’s best to strap them in tightly so they can’t get away.

“The numbers clearly show businesses have been getting more and more out of fewer and fewer employees,” said Harvard economist Neil Fischer. “So it doesn’t take a genius to determine that employees are a drag on productivity, and that were the economy to reach total unemployment, it would therefore reach total productivity.”

Critics immediately assailed the theory, pointing out that a similar tactic by AT&T failed when the company cut 120 percent of its workforce to save more money than it earns, and subsequently ceased to exist. However, Stanford economist Rachel Horwith said the productivity postulate was different, and has already been proven in the market.

“Just look at Enron,” she said. “Some of their best-producing units, at least on paper, had no one in them working in them at all.”

Virginia-based efficiency consultant Harvey Watts, however, accused economists of twisting the facts.

“It’s absurd to say that no employees would create more, because there would be no one left to create anything,” said Watts. “No, the truth is, we want to decrease productivity. The more people we have producing less, the more people we’ll need to produce what we need. So as soon as production stops, boom, you have full employment.”

Watts conceded he frequently consults for the French government.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan argued both interpretations could lead to disaster. “If people don’t have jobs, they can’t buy what’s produced, and vice versa,” he said. “So the bottom line is, if no one really wants what you’re producing, then there’s no point in making it.”

In response, ABC cancelled its entire fall lineup.

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