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Worst Recovery Since Great Depression?

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August 12, 2012 – Comments (2)

Recently, there has been a lot of rhetoric about the strength of the current recovery in the U.S. economy and many have stated that it is the "worst recovery since the Great Depression." Just yesterday, Paul Ryan, Romney's VP candidate pick, echoed the same sentiment, stating that "this is the worst economic recovery in 70 years."

But is this assertion true? The New York Times economics reporter Catherine Rampell recently took a look at whether or not this recovery is the worst one since the Great Depression. Her conclusion? Although the current recovery is significantly worse than the average recovery, she found that "on almost every measure I looked at, there was at least one previous (completed) recovery that performed worse." Moreover, in terms of corporate profits, today's recovery actually outperformed the average recovery.

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 13, 2012 at 11:08 AM, ryanalexanderson (< 20) wrote:

That's a tilted table. Bad statistics. It's like saying a baseball team isn't the worst in the league because you could find a worse shortstop on one team, a worse left fielder on another, etc.

Unless it was the same previous recovery that performed worse on every metric, or at least most, then it's just cherry-picking. 

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#2) On August 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM, JaysRage (88.72) wrote:

ryanalexanderson nailed it, but I'll go one further....the "recovery" that most resembled this "recovery" double-dipped.   

In most cases, it was the short-lived recovery that began in July 1980 and that “double-dipped” back into recession just a year later. With only 12 months to grow, the economy didn’t get very far.   

Our analyst whiffed on this opportunity for comparison, but this is a key point.   There were only 12 months of data for this recovery, because it wasn't really a recovery!  Not because there was some data error that would cause you to throw it out.    

So, the only recovery that was really worse than the one we're living through (since Great Depression) wasn't actually a recovery at all, since it ended in a double-dip recession.

I think it's fair to call this the worst recovery since the Great Depression, if it's fair to call it a recovery at all.....since the most apt comparison was a false recovery that ended in double-dip recession.   

Looks to me like the Republicans have a very good point, and if the analyst didn't already have an opinion in mind before she wrote the article, she would have seen this.

Corporate profits are good.  Yippee!  Everything else looks like a double-dip recession.     

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