| Economics

Are we coming out of a Depression?

by Michael Bindner

Many are calling the recent economic downturn the Great Recession. My question is, was it something more? Some have proposed that a downturn must last for two years to be considered a depression, although there is not univerally accepted definition. Given that today, unemployment topped 10%, housing values are still in decline (indeed, the recent spate of buying has been at fire sale prices and no uptick is in sight) and the under-employed are measured at 17%, which means that less than 75% of the potential workforce is fully employed.

I think we should reconsider the issue. Perhaps a twelve month downturn is enough, especially if housing values fall to the extent that they have. Without heroic action by the Federal Reserve and the Bush Administration, with continued action by President Obama, this would have been a depression. If the natural progress of the economy would have taken us into a depression, I think we deserve to call it that. I believe it is finally safe to do so, since temporary employment has started to rise, the stock market has begun to recover and some firms are attaining newfound profitability.