From the LA Times:
The National Bureau of Economic Research, the private body charged with determining the onset of a recession as well as its endpoint, said Monday that the current downturn met its definition of a recession: “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months.”
The downturn began, the bureau said, at the end of last year as businesses started slashing jobs — which they have done every month this year.
“This downturn promises to be the worst since the Great Depression in the 1930s,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at forecasting firm MFR Inc. “We’ve only just started. I can’t see bottoming out until sometime in 2010.”
Why’d it take them so long to declare a recession? Because tax rebates artificially raised GDP:
Sung Won Sohn, a professor at Cal State Channel Islands, said the economy would probably have shown two straight quarters of shrinking GDP this year if the government hadn’t handed out tax rebates as part of an economic stimulus program.
If the current recession lasts more than 16 months–which it is projected to–it will be the longest slump since the Great Depression. But everyone knows that, too.
I went to the US Department of Labor’s Nov. 7 employment situation summary to find information that wasn’t outdated by about 11 months. Their statistics are shocking:
–Unemployment rate: 6.5%, or 10.1 million people
–By ethnic/population segment, teenagers have the highest unemployment rate, at 20.6%. African-Americans have the second highest unemployment rate, 11.1%; Hispanics have the third highest, 8.8%. Asians have the lowest, at 3.8%.
–4.4 million have lost their jobs and do not expect to return to work.
–2.3 million people have been jobless 27 weeks or more.
–Manufacturing and services sectors posted the biggest losses last month.
–Healthcare, education, mining, and government employment is growing.
The good news: It’s a good era to be a bureaucrat, nurse, teacher, or miner. The bad news: Everything else.