By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
It’s official: last week it was announced that the recession is finally over in the United States. In fact, it’s been over for more than a year! It seems that the people who track such things wanted to be sure that we weren’t going to experience a double-dip recession, so they delayed making any pronouncements until they were sure.
The strange thing is that the recession doesn’t seem to be over from my perspective. In fact, I’ve noticed the effects of it more during the last twelve months – when there has technically not been a recession – than before that, when there was a recession.
Even so, I have seen some positive signs in the last week since this announcement was made. Perhaps we just needed someone to tell us it was over, and then we would begin acting that way, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If that’s the case, they should have proclaimed it to be over a long time ago. Then we would have begun acting differently last year, and things could be in full swing now.
While we’re on the subject of recession, how many times have you heard something along the lines of, “These are the worst economic times since the Great Depression”? Although this may be true (I do, however, recall that things weren’t too hot in the early 80s either), it has the subtle effect of allowing us to infer that today’s situation is as bad as the Great Depression. By framing these two events together, the conclusion can be all too easily drawn that the two are equal in scope and magnitude. That is not so – not by a long shot.
So, in summary, things weren’t that bad in this recession, the worst is over, and now we need to act like it to make it so. The economy needs us – don’t let it down!