Your Take 

Your Take: Is Your Recession Over?

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The National Bureau of Economic Research issued a report earlier this week in which they said the economic recession, that started in December 2007, ended in June 2009, 18 months later. It was the longest recession since World War 2 (1973-1975 and 1981-1982, both 16 months) and that any new economic downturn would be a new recession. The report is a little dry, heck the summary is like a walk in the Sahara, and makes for good headlines, but ultimately a recession is defined by people, not numbers (numbers lie!).

With so many houses underwater, nearly 10% unemployment, and all the other “signs” of a recession, I want to know what you think. Do you think we’re out of the recession?

We may be out of the technical definition of a recession but it’ll be quite some time before we return to the happy days of three or four years ago. With it being football season and all, I think a most appropriate analogy is when a kicker outkicks his coverage. Our economy, fueled by banking and financial chicanery (which we were all complicit in, you can’t blame the drug dealer for getting addicted), grew far too fast to be healthy, our home prices grew far too fast for our incomes, and now we have to pay the price with a little weakness for some time for things to recover. It’s like overeating at a lunch buffet, sometimes you just skip dinner.

What are your thoughts?

{ 52 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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52 Responses to “Your Take: Is Your Recession Over?”

  1. zapeta says:

    I guess technically, but as others mentioned it won’t seem that way for most people until there is some more robust job creation going on.

  2. It may be over on Wall Street or in some behind-the-scenes smoke-filled room in DC, but it ain’t over in Arizona.

    We are now one of the three poorest states in the nation. Our strapped school system ranks 47th among those of 50 states. In August alone, one in every 165 homes here received a foreclosure notice.

    My recession will be over when a real job that pays a living wage is available to me, when my son can get a job that pays a decent salary (which won’t happen in this state!), when the value of my paid-off home rises above what it was eighteen years ago(!), and when the government mandates that lenders must cut principal on loans against houses that are no longer worth what Americans are paying on them–such as the house my son and I are copurchasing, which according to Zillow is now worth about $130,000 less than we’re paying for it. IMHO, jobs and mortgage relief are the only things that will end this recession.

    • pmulroy says:

      Funny about Money,

      First, It sounds like you are doing just fine with a paid off house and enough income to copurchase a second home. If you have enough income to do that and still don’t feel you have a “living wage”, maybe you should get some perspective of what other people are going through.

      Second, what makes you think you deserve a bail out for the bad real estate choices you made? If someone took out a loan to buy a car and 3 years later realizes the car is not only worth less than he paid for it, but also less than the remaining loan value and now is now requesting “car loan relief”, any reasonable person would laugh. He made the choice and he should deal with the consequences. I’m sorry you bought into the hype that real estate always goes up, but you need to deal with the consequences. Don’t look for anyone else to blame but yourself, no one forced your hand to sign your signature on those mortgage documents.

  3. Ralph says:

    Of course it’s over.
    The solar rooftop initiatives (wind too) are starting to take hold. As more consumers are able to “tap the sun”, more spending money will become available to them. This added value to the econmy will boost sagging industries – especially the car markets.

    As electric cars with swappable batteries come to market, and have their batteries powered from renewable resources, the economy will continue growth. Think about it for a minute… all the dollars that were being spent on coal, nuclear, oil and other energy forms, will now come from a virtually “free” (after initial cost) source.

    Of course these “free” energy dollars will be needed to reduce the national debt, pay for the growing social security entitlements and pay for the added health care costs.
    We won’t be richer a a country, but economically, more stable.

  4. Ron says:

    As a retiree there never was a recession. Having some of the froth taken out of the economy has led to more reasonable prices for many items, particularly housing. For one on a reasonably fixed income it is infinitely better than rampant inflation.

  5. Diane says:

    Ay-yi-yi – no. From a macro point of view it may have ended, but almost everyone I know is still out of work, and my income from self-employment has dropped by 75%.

  6. Sabrina says:

    No, the last time they said it was over was nothing but a lie too, at least for the state of Michigan. We once lead this nation, without manufacturing we have no wealth. It is the very reason other nations have prospered, they now have manufacturing. The companies that left this nation to go overseas taking jobs and tax revenue with them as well as tax dollars to do so for the stock market profits, was a boon to those who collected. The rest of the people lost out, and continue to lose. Despite the bunk that people spent more then they could afford, is only true of those who lost pay,had to pay higher costs of insurance and other high price necessities to live did so with the thoughts that wage reduction was temporary. That is the lie many were and still are told while the companies prosper at our expenses?! No wonder so many have had to lose homes, they were not only and still are overpriced, but the taxes go up to reflect the current price as well as the wonderful automatic tax hike. I cannot afford all the past and current Republican strategy that certainly does not benefit anyone I know. I guess I m just not rich enough.

  7. TheMadTurtle says:

    Before I give my thoughts, maybe I should say that I am one of the lucky ones. While I didn’t get a raise last year, I am still gainfully employed by the same employer I’ve worked with for over 11 years. Last year, we adopted our first child and my wife actually quit her day job. We’ve been a financially responsible family since before the recession, so that enabled us to accomplish our current lifestyle in the midst of the recession. By ‘financially responsible’ I mean that we saved mad cash so that we could afford to adopt and the only debt we have is our home, which was moderately priced and has a mortgage below 25% of my take-home pay.

    I believe the recession is over. It’s simply going to take a good long while before unemployment levels go back down and people pay off the debt they’ve piled up during “the good times”. I think this is good. I wasn’t always a financially responsible person. After college, I moved to South Florida and quickly piled up over $35K in credit card debt by living above my means. It took me a long time, but I paid off every cent. People are being more responsible with their spending, so that’s going to make the economic recovery take longer, but I think it’s worth it.

  8. Norman says:

    I think they need a new numerical definition of recession if their numbers are showing that its over.

    • billsnider says:

      The technical definition is okay if you understand it and use it correctly.

      It is like the unemployment number. it does not reflect reality. However it is a way to measure trends, get a gauge on the situation and more importantlly, when you break the numbers down by demo and pscho groups, it helps you to understand what is happening.

      Bill snider

  9. Aaron says:

    I think that we would do just as well talking about unicorn husbandry.

    If an one’s definition of recession allows them to say that such a thing is over then the word has no meaning or relevance to people living in the real world on little or no income. Clearly their narrow gaze is focused on the ruling classes and not on the vast majority of society.

    • Mike says:

      “Clearly their narrow gaze is focused on the ruling classes and not on the vast majority of society”

      How do you figure? Even if you just look at unemployment rates, that’s only 10% or so. NOT a majority.

      The majority of people feel negative because of how people internalize bad news in the media NOT because of how they perceive reality. Humans being empathetic creatures by nature, internalize the misfortune of others as if it were our onw. That is partly why consumer confidence hit all time lows even though at the worst point 90% were still employed, a strong majority of whom were employed at or near the same salary.

  10. Aaron says:

    I assume by 10% you mean the jobless rate. I’m referring to the fact that the vast majority of people in the US have little or negative net worth and not much coming in to turn that around. Working class wages don’t grow and haven’t grown in decades, and the middle class is collapsing while it tries to maintain the sham of prosperity through consumer debt.

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