Here is a link to an LA Times interview by James Peltz that features my work on link between confidence, the stock market and unemployment. Here is an excerpt.
"Yes: When people lose confidence in the market and when the market stays down for three, six months at a time, people start paying attention."
Paying attention in what way?
"Imagine you're a 65-year-old couple and you have money invested in a 401(k). Now if your 401(k) drops for a week and then it comes back up again, you're probably not going to do very much. But if your 401(k) drops for three months or six months or a year, maybe you're not going to take that cruise you were going to take. Maybe you're not going to put money into your grandchild's college education.
Those decisions impact the economy. When people feel less wealthy they spend less. When they spend less, firms lay off workers and unemployment increases, and the fall in wealth becomes self-fulfilling. I believe when we feel rich we are rich."
Why is confidence so critical?
"If people are not out in the shops buying things, then firms are not going to be hiring people and one of the ways they respond is laying people off. And when people get laid off, profits fall along with demand and the drop in profits validates the original belief that their wealth was worth less. The stock market is a reflection of how wealthy we all think we are."