Jobs

Episode 404: What If You Controlled The Economy?

This guy lives in a computer. Can you get him a job?

This guy lives in a computer. Can you get him a job? Walt Disney Pictures/The Kobal Collection hide caption

itoggle caption Walt Disney Pictures/The Kobal Collection

The world inside Mark Zandi's computer model feels pretty familiar. It's full of people who are worried about the economy. Their homes are being foreclosed on. They're paying more for gas. Something like 13 million of them can't find jobs.

Zandi is the chief economist at Moody's Analytics, and he built his model to predict what's going to happen in the real world. When he plugs what he thinks is going to happen in the real world, his model spits out a pretty grim result: Four years from now, the unemployment rate will be 6.6 percent. That's lower than today, but still much higher than the 5 percent rate that was typical before the recession.

On today's show, we sit down with Zandi and give him a challenge: Fix the economy in the world inside your computer. Try to ensure that, four years from now, the unemployment rate inside the computer will get back down to 5 percent.

Turns out, it's harder than we thought.

For more: See our story, Even If You're All-Powerful, It's Hard To Fix The Economy

Download the Planet Money iPhone App. Music: Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/Tumblr

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