Thursday, September 11, 2008

U.S. Clearly in Recession

For anyone out there who still thinks the U.S. is not in recession this chart pretty clearly refutes that view. It's a view only held by some business economists anyway, I think. U.S. GDP increased by more than 3% y.o.y. in the second quarter of this year. But GDP growth is only one of the factors that the National Bureau of Economic Research takes into account in declaring recessions. The chart shows that in terms of unemployment the U.S. is now clearly in recession. The recent upward trend clearly broke the previous downtrend in terms of any signal to noise test you'd want to construct. And upward trend defines an unemployment recession. This isn't a case of some indicator that is coincident with recessions. I've seen a lot of those charts with commentary that says "in 8 out of the 9 last recessions this indicator rose ". Which isn't much of a statistical sample. I don't think this chart is that kind of an example.

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