Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recession Is Over! (if you want it)

Rejoice: the recession is over, at least according to the NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee, which recently declared that our latest recession ended in June 2009.

This is awesome news for those of us living in September 2010 and in a little sphere of existence I like to call, "the real world". We can now celebrate the official end of what's been dubbed, "The Great Recession", a six quarter period of negative growth that now stands as a post-war record.

I'm sure Americans will be pleased to know that the GDP numbers and government unemployment statistics, which purposely gloss over the problems of longer-term, structural unemployment by omitting discouraged workers from the tally, are now signalling a light at the end of the economic tunnel.

We discussed the silliness (and uselessness) of the NBER committee's recession pronouncement rituals back in December 2008, when the same committee officially blessed the start of our "now-ended" slowdown.

However, if you go back 11 months to January of 2008, we were already discussing the likelihood that we had entered a recession in real terms if statistics were properly adjusted for inflation.

Our matter of fact view on the economy was repeated in May of 2008 when Bloomberg TV was running a special called, "Surviving the Slowdown". It seems anyone not immersed in academia or connected to the government was able to see these things clearly for themselves at the time.

Which brings me to Robert Murphy's article at entitled, "Hooray, the Recession Is Over!". Aside from parsing the NBER announcement and mocking the economic establishment, Murphy makes a much needed point about the officially sanctioned history of recession and recovery that will likely emerge from the NBER's data and viewpoint. Everyone who studies economic history or is just reading about the current economic cycle should take 5 minutes to read it for that insight.

Related articles and posts

Now can we call it a recession? - Finance Trends.

2. Buffett: We're still in recession (CNBC) - PragCap.

3. For many of us, the recession lives on - Washington Post.