A headline from Chicagotribune.com states: "Jobless rate bolts to 8.1 percent, 651K jobs lost in February."

"The net loss of 651,000 jobs in February came after even deeper payroll reductions in the prior two months, according to revised figures. The economy lost 681,000 jobs in December and another 655,000 in January," based on U.S. Department of Labor statistics."

But the real unemployment rate is now more like 12 or 13 percent, according to analyst Lee Adler, writing in "The Wall Street Examiner." Adler concludes that, "today’s deterioration is at least as rapid, and probably more rapid, than the beginning of the Great Depression."

Dow Jones concludes that today’s stock market decline mimics the Great Depression.

Thus, both increasing unemployment and declining stock values indicate that we are entering an economic depression similar to the Great Depression.

Although it is difficult to determine how much of this economic depression is caused by Peak Oil impacts and how much stems from mismanagement of the economy as well as from business and government corruption, ASPO-Ireland explains that Peak Oil plays a major role.

But the current economic depression is permanent, due to declining global oil production, according to a recent post on EnergyBulletin.net.

We are entering the "Greatest Depression."

In the Great Depression of the 1930s, government programs and the build up for World War II stimulated the economy. The East Texas oil boom powered the factories, highways, trucks, tractors, trains, transportation, and infrastructure to make it possible.

Now, the problem is declining oil production, and there is no energy boom to help us pull ourselves up by the bootstraps.

There is no plan for developing energy alternatives that will power trucks, trains, ships, tractors, and combines, nor is there time or capital to develop alternatives. Capital is scarce due to declining oil production. Chris Shaw explains that energy is the source of capital, and hence, as capital declines as oil production drops.

A review of government and scientific studies indicates that regardless of the time or capital available, no alternatives will begin to make up for declining global oil production.

Whatever alternative energy we attempt to develop will consume valuable oil (mining, manufacturing, and transportation) and not deliver the liquid fuels that we need. Chris Shaw call this the "quicksand effect."

The Congress and president will be at a loss of how to manage this ever-worsening economic collapse. They would be wise to commission the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to provide the nation with advice. Chaos will result from the advice of contradictory interest groups, organizations, bloggers, and individuals. The NAS is the most credible source for such advice. The NAS and other scientific sources have already undertaken the basic research needed for a policy study to advise the nation. The NAS could provide an energy policy study within a year and could then provide advice on a continuing basis.

The best advice for individuals and organization is to prepare for Peak Oil impacts. No federal or state agencies are studying Peak Oil impacts and contingency planning. A few local governments and organizations are beginning to make plans.

This is what we must plan for. With increasing costs for gasoline and diesel, along with declining taxes and declining gasoline tax revenues, states and local governments will eventually have to cut staff and curtail highway maintenance. Eventually, gasoline stations will close, and state and local highway workers won’t be able to get to work. We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel and gasoline powered trucks for bridge maintenance, culvert cleaning to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, and roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, large transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables from great distances. With the highways out, there will be no food coming from far away, and without the power grid virtually nothing modern works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, water distribution systems, waster water treatment, and automated building systems.