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National Bureau of Economic Research Say U.S. Great Recession is Over; Really?

September 21st, 2010 Comments off

The NBER has issued a consensus determination that America’s Great Recession, which it said began  in December 2007, came to a technical end in June 2009, after GDP growth resumed. It is the NBER that economists look to in making the call on the initiation and termination of economic recessions in the United States.

While declaring the Great Recession over, the NBER concedes that the recovery has been unusually weak, after enduring the sharpest and longest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

I will put my own spin on the NBER report. It may be technically correct, but the resumption of GDP growth was based entirely on a massive explosion in public debt, the consequences  of which are excluded from the NBER’s take on the American economy. However, by acknowledging the anemic character of the recovery, it is indirectly pointing to the unsustainability of the recovery. Declining consumer spending capacity, essential for sustained economic growth, will ensure that the massive public debts cannot be serviced in the long term. This will lead to a global sovereign debt crisis and likely long-lasting economic depression.