I know you lost your job, car, house and healthcare... but maybe you haven't heard, the recession ended last year!
Even if you believe the conclusion by the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official arbiter of the beginnings and endings of recessions, that our current recession ended in June of 2009, it would make this downturn the longest since World War II. But clearly it’s hard to accept that the recession ended a year ago, with unemployment in Los Angeles County sticking at 13%, with home foreclosures continuing at a heightened pace and with more Americans losing their healthcare coverage. While the NBER declared that the recession has been over for more than a year they were still pessimistic, concluding that economic conditions since June of ’09 have not been favorable and that the economy had not returned to operating at “a normal capacity.” Does a declaration of the end of a recession, that the majority of Americans would say is still going strong, amount to anything more than a cruel irony, or is this a greater indication of a continuing disconnect between the stewards of the economy and average people who are still suffering?
Campbell Harvey, professor of international business at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University; research associate, National Bureau of Economic Research