Happy Fifth Anniversary, Great Recession!




On the surface, December is a great month. It's filled with holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and a host of other special occasions. The 22nd is the winter solstice, the day when the Earth's natural calendar turns and days start getting longer, and the 31st is the night when the old year ends and a new one begins.

But for all its holidays and festivals, turning points and celebrations, December also has its fair share of grim anniversaries. The 7th, after all, remains a "day that shall live in infamy," and the 2nd is the day that Enron filed for bankruptcy. On the 11th, Bernie Madoff was arrested, and on the 14th, President George W. Bush was hit by a tossed shoe in Iraq.

Five years ago, December added another infamous event to its collection: According to the National Bureau of Economic Records, December 2007 is the when the U.S. economy peaked and the Great Recession began. That month, unemployment crept up to 4.9%, beginning a slow climb that would gather speed in 2008 before reaching its height in late 2009.

Three months after December 2007, the famed Bear Stearns bailout hinted at the Wall Street mayhem that was in the works. Of course, by then, the rise in unemployment was hard to miss: In February, employers cut 63,000 jobs, a five-year high. Over the ensuing months, those numbers would continue to rise as the jobless rate eventually topped 10%.

Five years later, the economy still hasn't recovered. Unemployment hovers just below 8% -- an improvement over worst days of the recession, but far from its pre-2007 levels. The number of underemployed workers is still high. And while the recession has officially ended, the effects it had on the middle class remain, in particular what many analysts have characterized as an unprecedented loss of wealth.

At the same time, the Great Recession also led to an explosion in the deficit, as the federal government tried to keep the financial collapses of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers from rippling across the economy. Today, with the deficit at its highest level in history and a fight over austerity measures, taxes, and the debt ceiling brewing, the nation's modest recovery is at risk.

Among the possible results of the political grudge match now under way in Washington is that the next five years could look like a rerun of the last five. Perhaps next December, we'll be able to look back on this fifth anniversary of the Great Recession as having preceded a year in which the economy finally improved enough to revive America's optimism ... or perhaps we'll be remembering it as brief respite before the economy once again tumbled over a cliff.








Slovenia Ex-Premier Wins Presidency as Recession Deepens
Businessweek
Borut Pahor, Slovenia's former prime minister, won the presidential election in the euro-region nation that is fighting its second recession in three years. Pahor got 67 percent of the vote in the second round of elections while the incumbent Danilo ...
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Recession doesn't stop do-good consumption
The News Journal
In the recession and its aftermath, Merrick's company has grown. That first year, it sold its line of coffee, gum and mints in about 160 stores nationwide. By the end of this year, Merrick expects to be in 20,000, including mega-marketers Target and ...
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US economy may face recession next year due to political issues
Economic Times
The odds are now about 36% that the US will be in a recession next year. The reason is political: partisan polarisation has reached levels never before seen, threatening to send the US economy over the 'fiscal cliff ' — the automatic tax increases and ...
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Economic Times
Happy Fifth Anniversary, Great Recession!
DailyFinance
Happy Fifth Anniversary, Great Recession! On the surface, December is a great month. It's filled with holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and a host of other special occasions. The 22nd is the winter solstice, the day when the Earth's ...
See all stories on this topic »
US birth rate falls to lowest since 1920
World Socialist Web Site
The US birthrate plummeted last year to a record low, with the decline being led by immigrant women hit hard by the recession, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. The study concludes that economic factors are having a ...
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Avoiding a new American recession
BusinessDay
The United States may be headed for a recession in 2013. Even if the country avoids going over the “fiscal cliff,” a poorly designed political compromise that cuts the deficit too quickly could push an already weak economy into recession. But a gradual ...
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Kids now have to pay for letters to Santa in recession move
IrishCentral
In previous years , Irish tots sending missives to the North Pole were told there was "no need for a stamp," but due to the recession, things have changed. An Post, the Irish postal service, is "encouraging" children to use stamps to teach them "the ...
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IrishCentral
Euro-Area Manufacturing Contracts for 16th Straight Month
Businessweek
Euro-area manufacturing output contracted for a 16th month in November, adding to signs arecession in the currency bloc may extend into next year as leaders struggle to tackle the sovereign-debt crisis. A gauge of manufacturing in the 17-nation euro ...
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Recession in Europe starts to affect R.I. exporters
The Providence Journal
Rising exports have been one of the bright spots in Rhode Island's sluggish economy this year with sales overseas up 4.5 percent through the first nine months of 2012 compared with the first three quarters of 2011, according to statistics compiled by ...
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