ECONOMIC UPDATE…. Jobless claims spiked upward last week (see chart on right), the unemployment rate has risen to 5.1%, and nonfarm payrolls fell by 80,000 last month. Brad DeLong:

If you didn’t think recession was on the way before, you need to think again.

OK, OK, I believe. Now can you please get off my chest? I’m having a hard time breathing.

So this makes — what? Three recessions in a row that were kicked off by an external shock of some kind? Four? Five? Oil shocks in 1973, 1979/81, and 1991, the dotcom bust in 2001, and the credit crisis (and a really slow-moving oil shock?) in 2008. I’m not sure about 1991, though. But if recessions are kicked off more by huge external shocks these days than by Fed-induced inflation fighting, shouldn’t we all be thinking harder about how to control those shocks a little better? Time for the big brains to get to work on this.