Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Great Recession

Writers like to be the first ones to come up with a catchy name for a trend, event, generation and the like. The Jazz Age, the Great Depression, Baby Boom Generation, the Me Decade, Generation X, you get the idea.
Now it looks like writers have settled on the Great Recession for the current economic turmoil. The recession, which started in December 2007, has led to a surge in unemployment, cratering of consumer confidence and spending, and turbulence on Wall Street.
On March 10, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said, “I think that we can now say that we’ve entered a Great Recession,” according to the U.K.'s Telegraph.
A March 11 article in the New York Times says the Great Recession moniker really took off in December as more economists, analysts, reporters and others began using it in large numbers.
The New York Times also has a neat interactive graphic that shows the U.S. jobless rate and unemployment rate by county. Check it out.
April 1 would mark the longest recessionary period since the Great Depression, according to the Kansas City Star.
A Wikipedia entry called “Late 2000s recession” says the 2008-09 period is “sometimes called the ‘Great Recession.’” Contributors to the economic downturn include high oil prices, high food prices, and the collapse of a major housing bubble in the U.S., it says.
The University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism has put together a book of photographs covering the economic downturn. The title? What else? “The Great Recession.”
The Boston Globe has compiled a series of photographs that document the hardships of the Great Recession. The series, called “Scenes from the recession,” illustrate foreclosures, evictions, bankruptcies, layoffs and abandoned projects.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a Web site called “The Great Recession: In-depth report on the national, Ohio and local Cleveland economy.”
Here’s a depressing article from the Los Angeles Times about California’s hard-hit Inland Empire. It’s labeled the first in a series of articles called “Postcards from the Recession.”
Web sites have even popped up using the phrase. The Great Recession site at includes the tagline “Because it’s not a Depression. Yet.”
And because economics can be boring, journalists are finding ways to spice up their coverage. My favorite article, “More women needing cash go from jobless to topless.”
Talk about a stimulus plan.

Photos above:
Humorous graphic showing recession-era logos for major companies. (From Flickr account of Weimin Liu.)
Google Trends chart showing search traffic for the term Great Recession.
Actress Elizabeth Berkley as a stripper from the movie "Showgirls" (1995).

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