Monday, March 16, 2009

The great recession

The Economix blog takes a look back at the history of this moniker, and concludes that believing the current recession is the worst ever is not a new phenomenon:
But here’s the thing: Nobody can take credit for coining the term “The Great Recession” during the last year. Why? Because the “Great Recession of 2008″ is not the first recession to be slapped with the lofty title. Every recession of the last several decades has, at some point or another, received this special designation:
  • Some economists believed the recession of 2001 would be a “Great Recession.”
  • In “The Return of Depression Economics,” first published in 1999, Paul Krugman wrote about the “Great Recession” of his era.
  • The downturn of the early 1990s was on occasion referred to as the “Great Recession.” The term was especially used to describe the situation in Connecticut.
  • Some referred to the recessions of the 1980s as the Great Recession.
  • Forbes proclaimed “the Great Recession of 1979″ in an issue dated Nov. 26, 1979.
  • Before that, Forbes had proclaimed 1974-75 as the “Great Recession.” So did Newsweek, and so did this New York Times column.
And so on.
Anecdotally, I can remember during the 1991 recession watching the morning news -- Good Morning America I think -- and seeing a report about something like 7,000 people lining up to apply for jobs at a hotel in San Francisco as an indication of how grim the recession was.

Traveling for the past couple of weeks I haven't seen too many obvious signs of a great recession or depression. Both flights I have been on were sold out. The first hotel room I tried to get Saturday night had zero non-smoking rooms available. I had to wait a few minutes for a table for lunch at a San Francisco restaurant where entrees ran around $20-25.

That's not to say that everything is perfect, but this is hardly a Great Depression redux.

Update: Related stuff here.

Another update: Just returned from the San Antonio riverwalk. Here was the scene:


The restaurants and cafes were fairly busy on a Monday afternoon around 3-3:30pm -- not exactly lunch hour. The local mall was doing brisk business as well. Now, does this mean the economy isn't in bad shape? No. But let's also have some perspective on how bad things really are.

2 comments:

Real Estate Vancouver said...

The recession is maybe not visible in restaurants or hotels or at the airport because we still have to eat and sleep somewhere. But if you look at profits of almost every business that doesn't deal with social services you'd see the terrible decrease. The sales drop daily and there is nothing you can do about it. So maybe it's not visible in the streets when walking around but if you dig in, you see the damage this recession did to the economy.

Take care, Jay

Colin said...

Thanks for the comment Jay. Please find my response here:

http://togetrichisglorious.blogspot.com/2009/03/great-recession-ii.html