Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Is the Recession Really Over?
Many economists have been reported recently to be in agreement that the Great Recession that began in December 2007 is over or will soon be over. They point to higher housing starts, auto sales, modest ticks upward in factory production, reductions in inventories and a stabilization in some metro areas in unemployment statistics. Like the Wall Street Journal reported recently I guess one's outlook depends on which America he/she is part of at this time. I guess I would classify myself as representative of the "other" America at this time--unemployed for over 2 1/2 years now despite Herculean efforts to find something here in the states and even abroad, savings depleted and retirement nest egg almost gone, a witness to obvious age discrimination in my search and scared to death of future prospects of possible total financial ruin. Anyone not in this position just can't relate to the pain, sadness, humiliation and frustration that this brings to an individual and his/her family. And just how can the statistics these economists are using portray any kind of a reliable trend when home sales are probably inflated by increased foreclosures and pressured bank sales and not the normal buyer/seller transactions, car sales inflated by the short-termed "Cash for Clunkers" program and unemployment numbers still rising in many areas and realistically not reflective of the huge numbers of long-term unemployed (like me) and underemployed where so many former "executive" types must take on jobs paying a fraction of what they had achieved before becoming unemployed. Although I want to be just as optimistic as the next person, from my side of the aisle I do not see the "shoots" and roses that the other America must see.