I return with good news. The recession ended in June.
This is not a joke but the pronouncement of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the group given the dismal but important task of “officially” dating the beginning and end of recessions, The NBER, a group of respected academic economists,didn’t color itself in glory in the run-up to its official call of the recession’s start. It didn’t take a Ph.D. to know the economy was very sick well before December 2007. The new statement will only make average Americans wonder if any common sense remains in the ranks of those who guide and watch the economy.
The problem with this entire slapstick is that most Americans doubt the recession is over. And with good reason. Jobs are especially in short supply: When this or that report says that a statistic is the worst since 1948 or World War II, that’s because modern measurement began then. So we’re talking unemployment stress not seen since the Depression. Poverty is rising. A record number are on food stamps.Consumer spending is anemic, prolonging state and local budget crises, maintaining a feedback loop that keeps recovery from taking hold. Some fundamental illnesses are raging inside the American economy, and the idea that it really, really is a recovery, but with lagging jobs, incomes, small-business lending, etc. etc. becomes laughable.
In addition, the yardsticks of general prosperity seem to have changed as the economy has become more complex, global and unequal. The many resets made and postponed by this severe meltdown have created different dynamics, making it difficult to distinguish the cyclical from the secular. We’re not going back to 1992 or 2001. Thus measures such as the NBER’s become ever more irrelevant.
If it makes you feel any better, most of the causes of the recent recession are still in place.
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Kept their jobs through the bad times
What do datres matter?