Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Great Recession is over, but pain continues

The longest economic slump in the U.S. in 70 years is over.
The Commerce Department Oct. 29 said the U.S. economy grew at a 3.5% annual rate in the third quarter. The economy hadn’t grown in more than a year. The last time the country’s gross domestic product increased was in the second quarter of 2008. The GDP measures total goods and services output within U.S. borders.
Recessions in the United States are dated by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the private-sector group often takes months to make determinations, Reuters says. The economy slipped into recession in December 2007 and has been in the worst downturn since the Great Depression, which began in October 1929.
The GDP got a boost from federal stimulus. The Cash for Clunkers program helped auto sales and tax credits for first-time home buyers helped the housing market, according to the Associated Press.
But the recovery could wane once the federal stimulus wanes, according to Investors.com.
Next week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to show an increase in the unemployment rate, perhaps to 10%. More than 15 million people are unemployed nationwide, the AP reports.
Meanwhile, federal regulators have shut down 106 failed banks so far this year, according to Zacks Investment Research.
BusinessWeek jumped the gun on the economic recovery. It announced Sept. 14 that it was shutting down its “Recession in America” blog. BusinessWeek said it ceased the blog in light of improving economic conditions.
Let’s hope they’re right.

Art: Graphic from BusinessWeek’s “Recession in America” blog.

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