So Long, Recession

The organization tasked with dating the start and end of recessions -- the National Bureau of Economic Research -- has officially laid our recent one to rest. Actually, it says the recession ended over a year ago, in June 2009.

Why did it take so long to call the bottom? And why now? Hard to say. NBER was still on the fence as recently as April, when it said that, "Although most indicators have turned up, the committee decided that the determination of the trough date on the basis of current data would be premature." Since then, most indicators have moved slightly down. This stuff isn't exactly a science.

The importance of this announcement is trivial. Most have been under the impression that the downturn troughed last summer since ... last summer. That was when everything from GDP to incomes to exports to manufacturing began a fairly sharp run. Corporate profits have also zoomed back, with companies from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) to Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) to Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) making more money over the past 12 months than they did in 2007, when the recession began. If recessions are to be measured by output, the death of this downturn wasn't hard to spot.

Also, if a depression is defined as a 10% decline in GDP (that's what the textbooks say), then we didn't come close:

Still, most people's practical definition of recessions and depressions have nothing to do with GDP. It's about employment. And there's no argument that the job situation is still a bloody disaster.

Maybe the official end of this recession will boost confidence a little. That'd be good news. Stocks hit a 4-month high today, so maybe it is. But there's no question that the economy is still stuck in a hole.

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. Intel, Pfizer, and Wal-Mart Stores are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. The Fool owns shares of Intel and Wal-Mart Stores. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 4:06 PM, BadCopNoDonuts wrote:

    Laughable. We're in so much trouble. All the wishing and covering your eyes and ears isn't going to change that.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 4:47 PM, gfbjohn wrote:

    jobs will remain MIA until businesses decide to produce more and have to hire to achieve the production. Businesses will be reluctant to up production until there are consumers to buy, and consumers will remain scant and their demand unvested as long as there's a 27% un- and under-employment.

    Beat this catch-22 by getting that 27% trained in jobs that will build and maintain the infrastructure to make the stuff that can't be demanded when they don't have money and then reveal to businesses what they should be producing to make top money by making top sellers based on what we would buy and then back that enticement up with folks right here in the US who are ready to do the jobs to ramp up the production.

    Ahhhh, how do we determine unvested demand -- "the stuff that can't be demanded when they don't have money"?? Ask us. We need a forum for the general public to weigh in as to what they would buy if they had big money. Google (GOOG)? Amazon (AMZN)? Electronic Arts (ERTS)? Apple (AAPL)? Oracle (ORA)? Robot manufacturers?

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 4:48 PM, plange01 wrote:

    everyone already knew the recession ended that was almost two years ago! what about the growing depression and the country not having a real president?

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 5:32 PM, lctycoon wrote:

    Does anyone really think that there will be any improvement on the jobs front without either the consumer demand or the political environment to support it?

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 5:37 PM, dollymc24 wrote:

    Just who are they trying to kid. No jobs mean no money and they even want to raise taxes every where. Even the Real Estate market is in the toilet and will be for the next 3 years - shadow repos on on their way do not doubt it. I am a Realtor

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 6:00 PM, peretranquile wrote:

    I understand that you are talking about depressions and trying to illustrate periods of negative growth, but the graph is visually misleading without showing the continuous trace. A bold line along the (zero) growth axis, would be sufficient to make your point.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 6:08 PM, holosys wrote:

    Perhaps the "recession" marked the beginning of a "culling" of the human population. Saying that many people will never work again, is the same as saying that many people are dead. Permanent unemployment marks their period of passing between this life and the next (while their bodies are maintained for the maximum unemployment insurance period). These are extremely morbid times we live in. Even in the Great Depression nobody was declared to be permanently unemployable (as in "will never work again"). Eliminating tens of millions of people by permanently unemploying them, I'm afraid, will not have the effect the wealthy intended. Strictly "supply and demand" speaking, by eliminating demand, demand remains modest, further contracting the economy. The end game is when the rich simply throw in the towel in a few years, and retire to gated communities, leaving a wasteland of poor people to fend for themselves.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 6:15 PM, ifool100 wrote:

    To Plange01: Umm - at the risk of being political -we have a real president. He was elected by nearly 67 million Americans in 2008. Obama was elected with twice the number of electoral votes of his contender - John McCain. It's great that you have opinions. You may want to keep in mind though, that no matter how strong your views may be, you insult a huge number of Americans, and our nation as a whole when you make comments like that.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 6:35 PM, ilovesumm wrote:

    This statistical feat was accomplished by govt spending and bailouts , not real GDP growth.

    If we pulled out of recession why is unemployment so high?

    Why is the housing market still underwater ?

    After cash for clunkers and $8000 tax , both have gone back to the dumps , how can this be in a recovery?

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 6:36 PM, Bonefish100 wrote:

    To Ifool100:

    The fact that 67 million Americans voted for our Non-President simply underscores the fact that 67 million people didn't do their homework and would prefer, instead, to watch American Idol or something similar that doesn't require any thought.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 6:51 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    Oh dear me. Birthers. A new low. What a thread.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 7:02 PM, trout27 wrote:

    bring back bush right? lol 1.3 trillion debt he added. most in history.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 7:03 PM, Mstinterestinman wrote:

    Getting back on topic the amount of GDP decline was comparable to the early 80's does anyone remember whats stocks did for the next ten years from there? ;)

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 7:06 PM, MotleyReader wrote:

    To ilovesumm: right on. Our country's main crisis at this time is a crisis of confidence driven by the contraction in the money supply due to our banks having overreacted by sharply curtailing loan activity. Unfortunately, America is a debt-based economy and until more individuals and businesses get into more debt, we are not going to see real recovery. I think this slight uptick is mostly due to the enormous, unprecedented government bailout spending. With the bailout capital flows waning smaller and smaller and the public's reluctance for further increases in the national debt and looming tax hikes (like it or not, the taxpayers must face a tax hike eventually to service the larger interest obligation on the national debt), this is NOT a rosy scenario at all. Our nation is already insolvent and is on the brink of something far worse, economically.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 7:17 PM, andfaraway wrote:

    Like alcoholics fresh out of rehab, convinced that they are cured, - and just one little sip won't do any harm!

    Have any of you seen the forward and current debt commiment? - and if you have seen it, did you understand what it means for us all. Whether we suffer death by a thousand cuts or by a sudden implosion, matters little. Delusion is the companion of false optimism...

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 7:37 PM, kyddfool wrote:

    REALLY ! Just read the history of the last twenty years in Japan. We are doing the same thing and listen up, my friends........ Unless we take charge and change every politician , every chance we get, we are doomed . We are in a depression and there are no jobs and the government is broke !

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 8:14 PM, mtracy9 wrote:

    "I made by far the best buys I've ever made in my lifetime in 1974. And that was a time of great pessimism and the oil shock and stagflation and all those sorts of things. But stocks were cheap." --Warren Buffett

    http://shouldersofgiantsinvestor.com

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 8:22 PM, jm7700229 wrote:

    A recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity over a period of time. It ends when the contraction ends. It does not mean that full employment has returned or that people are buying houses or cars. It only means that the general business cycle is not getting worse. Unemployment may even increase early in a recovery, because the measure is against the business cycle, not the level of employment.

    The bitterness of some of the comments here reflect hurt sensitivities, not economics.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 8:46 PM, gmcgfool wrote:

    NBER is just another tool of a government which obscures, slants and skews all statistics and charts to give credence to the desired government propaganda. Motley Fool readers know better than to accept this particular doctored report (and many others) as truth about the "end of the recession" when this country is in the midst of an actual and unacknowledged Second Great Depression.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 10:47 PM, thisislabor wrote:

    Why do people think that the market price of an asset and the productive employment base of an economy are related?

    if I hear one more comment about housing prices and clunking cars I swear....

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 10:52 PM, thisislabor wrote:

    MotleyReader wrote:

    "I think this slight uptick is mostly due to the enormous, unprecedented government bailout spending. With the bailout capital flows waning smaller and smaller and the public's reluctance for further increases in the national debt and looming tax hikes (like it or not, the taxpayers must face a tax hike eventually to service the larger interest obligation on the national debt), this is NOT a rosy scenario at all."

    agreed - but going into more debt is not the answer to fixing A) the unemployment situation or B) the economic situation we're in.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 10:55 PM, thisislabor wrote:

    unless of course.. it is?

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 11:08 PM, xetn wrote:

    This is a huge joke. There is no end to the recession/depression regardless of what the "mighty" have dictated. The simple fact is you cannot have a recovery without JOBS! And I am not talking about temporary census workers or any other government employee.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 11:17 PM, daleinaz wrote:

    US companies have been busy shipping as many jobs as possible to "best cost countries" as my former employer called them (China, Vietnam, Philippines, India, etc), including "good" jobs like software and hardware design, skilled manufacturing, IT, all the things that we were supposed to go to college for. Now with 25% un/under employment, we wonder why our "consumer-driven economy" is not recovering?

    I am now back to work (in engineering) after a 12-month unemployment. I spent very little in the past year, and I'm still not spending much. I have to build up my savings to last me through my next period of unemployment (and there will be one). Unlike many, I have been funding my retirement, so at least I'm not too worried about that.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 11:44 PM, jm7700229 wrote:

    If you define a recovery as growth in employment, then we are not in a recovery. However, a one word definition of recession would be "decline." And the economists definition of the decline is a decline in the business cycle, mostly manifested by a drop in growth of GDP. Under this definition, the recession, that is, the decline, has ended; it's no longer getting worse. If you want to use a different definition in order to whine about the government, it would be helpful to spell out your definition. The one used in the article above is the accepted usage by economists and knowledgeable analysts.

    Again, employment usually drops in the early part of a recovery. That will be the toughest part of this one, the very slow growth in anticipated employment. If you're a Democrat, we need to increase spending to stimulate work. If you're a Republican, we need to cut taxes to stimulate work. If you understand economics, either would be about equally effective, with tax cuts probably slower to produce benefit but with longer lasting results. And then we can all hope to die before our children have to pay the bills.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2010, at 11:53 PM, jm7700229 wrote:

    Congratulations, Daleinaz, for getting back to work. I know it's tough, because I've been there. I do want to point out that it is not generally American employers who are shipping jobs overseas; it's American consumers. I have a friend who just retired after 40 years with US Steel. His plant went from 40,000 employees in the late '60s to 8,000 today. My friend owns a Toyota and a Hyundai.

    Honda just settled a strike in China by raising the pay of workers who build their transmissions to the princely sum of $220 PER MONTH. That's about what an American worker makes in a day. When we are prepared to pay the premium that manufacturing in the U.S. costs, then jobs will move back here (not incidentally, the Japanese and Germans can make cars profitably in the U.S. in their non-union shops, while U.S. based companies cannot compete).

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 12:02 AM, sodapops wrote:

    What nobody is facing is that these jobs dissapeared in the 80's 90's and the last decade. An artificial real estate boom was engineered by keeping interest rates too low to cover up the fact that so many factory type jobs had been shipped overseas. The interest rates were kept unbelievably low for the last decade to keep this bird from coming home to roost in 2002-2003.

    Until we face this and do something about jobs for people who aren't going to be part of the information economy we will have higher unemployment than we have been used to since WW2.

    We have way overbuilt housing and strip malls due to the ridiculously low

    interest rates so the construction and loan origination and related jobs are not coming back for maybe a generation.

    We've also turned a blind eye to many less desireable industries such as pornography, gambling and subprime credit because we've needed those jobs to help cover for the ones that were shipped overseas during the last thirty years.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 12:09 AM, whereaminow wrote:

    If GDP is primarily a measure of inflation (and it is), then what use is it as an indicator of a nation's economic performance? (None)

    The Soviet Union never had a Depression. At least, not if you ask the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Simple question, Morgan. When are you going to start treating this charlatans with the proper level of derision and mockery they deserve? You are far too polite.

    David in Qatar

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 1:13 AM, joandrose wrote:

    jm7700229 - you are spot on. Until and unless Americans generally are prepared to pay a premium for American products - and buy them in preference to competitive imports - work will continue to flow out of America . Meaningful job creation will not take place while American cost of production remains so much higher than imported competitive products and services. The only logical solution appears to be a vigorous "Buy American campaign" that is fully supported by the American public.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 2:06 AM, MotleyReader wrote:

    thisislabor wrote:

    "agreed - but going into more debt is not the answer to fixing A) the unemployment situation or B) the economic situation we're in...

    unless of course.. it is?"

    I wish it wasn't true, but the changes needed to move America away from debt-reliance are so unimaginably painful that I am not certain it will happen. There is an old proverb that I think can be applied to America's addiction to debt:

    When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, America will finally change.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 5:41 AM, edvale wrote:

    We had an "I'm Backing Britain" campaign here in the UK in the 1960s. Short term sucess marginal, long term, useless! Buying American would surely just be another way of reducing your living standards with an inefficient use of capital. Unfortunately, your Government has already provided one safety net for the US car companies, in a similar way as the Japanese keep bailing out their banks and prolonging their recession.

    Those who don't compete must be allowed to go to the wall rather than suck capital out of the public purse which could be better deployed by the private sector. By all means raise unemployment benefits to soften the blow, but you need new efficient businesses if you're to regain a thriving economy.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 10:00 AM, dcrednek wrote:

    The title of this article is pretty provocative, to say the very least. I think that the author's argument is technically sound, but seriously irresponsible in it's lack of explanation and detail. For the sake of argument let's say that the contraction of US output (i.e. GDP) has been halted. What is not mentioned in this article is that the contraction in GDP has been arrested by significant gains in productivity per worker. Fewer people doing more work (and possibly working longer hours) for the same or even less pay. Higher productivity is a good thing.

    The US economic machine's problem is not one of productivity; US workers are some of the most productive on the planet. The problem is in moving excess workers (i.e. the unemployed) to areas and industries where there is a demand for that labor, or creating the conditions which inspire some of that excess labor to build new industry and expand total output. But we're not doing that right now. Folks in governement, in industry, and many of the unemployed are keeping their eyes glued to the rear-view mirror in hopes of a return to the "good ole days" of the early and mid 2000s.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 10:21 AM, mtf00l wrote:

    One of the best threads I've read in a long time.

    Thanks

    mtf00l

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 10:43 AM, SooperB wrote:

    Why do so many people blame Obama? Do you really think this mess would not have happened if we had a different president?

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 11:10 AM, stanton17 wrote:

    Mstinterestinman & mtracy9,

    Very good commentaries... Like you, I do recall the very dark economic days of the 1970s and very early 80s. It didn't appear that America would ever recover from its economic woes; there were so many forces working against a recovery (terrible unemployment, a hideous housing market, etc.). But, low and behold, a recovery did occur and the market reached new highs (albeit, interrupted by "Black Monday" in 1987 and the "Asian Financial Crisis" in 1997). In hindsight, this era proved to be a most opportune time to invest (ala Warren Buffet and others).

    Is this time truly different? Many will argue that it is thanks to one factor or another (the stimulus, unemployment, etc.). But I've grown-up witnessing a financial crisis, of one sort or another, in every decade. I imagine there will come a time, when more good news steadily outnumbers the bad. Then enough investors will be convinced that we aren't going to "heck in a hand-basket" and return to stocks (versus piling into bonds). When that happens is anybody's guess. Meanwhile, I'll be patiently awaiting them :)

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 1:36 PM, MisterRogers wrote:

    When World War II ended, there were still widows and orphans, refugees, wounded veterans, occupation forces, and wartime debts. Still, the war had ended. The measure of when a recession begins or ends may be faulty, but it is a standard that has been applied uniformly to judge recessions for decades. That this recession officially ended should be taken as a sign of hope. We are all still struggling, but we have reason to believe that the struggle will eventually subside. Life will never be the same, but as Americans, we are adaptable.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 1:51 PM, sept2749 wrote:

    If you believe that the resession is over, you and I should be talking big business. I have this great bridge for sale between here and Brooklyn NY. It's called the Brooklyn Bridge and have I got a deal for you!

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 2:45 PM, Computerjockey wrote:

    Is anyboy listening to the whiners? I know that I'm not.

    I came out of college in the last big recession ('81-'82) (10.8% unemployment) and spend three years in minimum wage jobs, but I worked. Hint, Hint.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2010, at 2:09 AM, JavaChipFool wrote:

    computer jockey and I have a lot in common- got out of college at the same, and I had some geology related jobs that paid ok, and also waited on tables in between- and I had to search for restaraunts that were hiring!! (easiest way to get a geologist in Denver in '82? "Waiter!" ).

    the point I want to make now is this- Sure there is high underemployment-( where is this 20%+ coming from? I haven't seen higher than 18% from the Bureau of Labor U6 number back in May) BUT---The rest of us are working, and I see a lot of RV's towing OHV's and motorcycles on the road, traffic in Denver is still crappy-also in Phoenix- which means a lot of people are going somewhere- and not everyone is going to the poor house at 8 in the morning and coming back at 4 in the afternoon day after day.

    For a sound bad news good news report, check out sentinel funds "Market insights" from Aug 17- its a good short read. the link is http://www.sentinelinvestments.com/sentinel_news_detail.php?...

    and one salient point of summary from it is this "Stay nimble and liquid

    1 It's a great time to pick up stocks globally... but invest with margins of safety... that means Free Cash Flow, strong balance sheets, visibility of earnings

    2 Favor oil services, health care and some tech and find the Asia connection"

    There's other good stuff there, too-check it out.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2010, at 5:19 PM, cztrain wrote:

    The NEBR doesn't have a clue. One of the most important factors in determining a recession has been left out. That factor is UNEMPLOYMENT. When the UNEMPLOYMENT is equal to or less than the AVERAGE UNEMPLOYMENT for the last 10 years, and is included in the criteria, maybe they will be closer to knowing what is going on.

  • Report this Comment On September 22, 2010, at 10:56 PM, shadowgal wrote:

    Usually the comments on this site are very informative. Too bad this thread isn't. Looks like the paranoids and the folks who have political axes to grind landed here for awhile. Overall though, great job Fool.com

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 11:26 AM, shirtmeister wrote:

    Computerjockey & JavaChipFool: Me too, I got out of college with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, my job after I got out? Working 3rd shift in a factory putting E.T. dolls together!

    The Great Recession is very personal I think. For me it started in November 2006 (Citibank was getting rid of massive numbers of people at the time, though it seemed to stay out of the news headlines). I was unemployed for 3 months and very scared. It was a good thing though, because I will never put myself in a position of not having enough savings again. I paid off my debt from my 2006 unemployment.

    I think there are 2 different definitions of unemployment going on. I'm lucky to be newly employed, but I don't consider the recession over and don't feel safe in my employment, they're still laying off people where I work. But I'm definitely looking for bargain stocks with the money from not going out to dinner every night! Thanks fools!

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 11:31 AM, gimponthego wrote:

    In 1965 economics class at a Junior College in Corpus Christi we were told unemployment of 3% was considered a recession. How times have changed! Johnny

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 12:17 PM, foolarround wrote:

    So long recession ?!!! You must be joking. You ain't seen nothing yet in the UK. Just wait until the 40+% cuts in the public sector. Will you still have a job in five months time?

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 12:27 PM, STORMSTOCKER wrote:

    SO "WE" ARE TO TRUST A "government agency" to tell us "that the recession is over??"...YEAH !! RIGHT!!; We are at - "borderline depression". -Housing,Stock Market,Employment,Commercial RealEstate, etc.etc.etc. is still...ALL IN THE TANK! (AS-INSHITTER).

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 12:35 PM, INoFoolin wrote:

    When I took Economics for my MBA full employment was 4%. Monetary policy was supposed to be used to keep the economy on the rails, but the Fed kept interest rates low throughout the Bush Era, and created 'irrational exuberance' for an extended period of time, most particularly with the housing bubble built on excess credit. Please note that this recession is bigger than the last 3 combined. A very deep hole with massive debt overhang. Now the Fed has no power to stimulate the economy. The federal government has to use fiscal policy to 'create' demand with deficit spending programs. The right wingers that are against deficits should go look what the track record of Regan, Bush, and Bush were compared to Clinton. Actions speak louder than words. The Democrats have been the more fiscally conservative party.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 12:44 PM, HARDONE32 wrote:

    I think it is so interesting that the current administration thinks that if they continue to have the media state that everything is fine, the economy is going well, the American people we will somehow believe it? They just forgot that 20% are without jobs and most business (other the govt.) is hang’en on for dear life, and health care!

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 1:32 PM, jm7700229 wrote:

    It would be nice if you people would learn what is meant by "the end of the recession." Nowhere does it mean or imply that things are back to normal, it only means they have stopped getting worse. They have stopped getting worse: unemployment is stable, production is up, albeit not by much.

    It isn't the government or greedy bankers that are providing the main drag on the economy; it's consumer spending. Second to that is the ability of people who can afford to pay their mortgages but are walking away because they can. I'd like to see them jailed: they aren't just screwing the banks, they are screwing their neighbors by causing housing values to plummet in a vicious cycle. The Motley Fool supports this 'beggar thy neighbor' activity. Too bad we have gone from a nation of responsible, hardworking people who paid their bills and saved for retirement to a nation of government dependents who aren't in the least embarrassed to suck on the nation's teat while stiffing their neighbors, all in two generations.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 1:58 PM, Remustrading wrote:

    They are tring to brainwash us ?The Depression will start soon, just look around us and the world.

    These people are simply retarded. I should uusubscribe frertheir services I guess that being a contrarian should bring some benefits. Do you remember the pictures with the line upsat the food banks? Have the photo set ready.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 2:04 PM, pcnnc wrote:

    JM, you make some salient points but they are nonetheless symptoms of the government cancer. Until we the people can take back control of our government this current malaise will continue, probably dwarfing the late 70's early 80's. Its time for a little electoral chemotherapy on Congress!

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 2:05 PM, opedbyme wrote:

    Someone has to make the call and the NBER did.....AND.....that's what they do.......make the call. So let's move on. If you got a problem with them making the decision they are suppose to make.....GET OVER IT.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 2:41 PM, AriasPalm wrote:

    I'm a small business owner, far from rich, but hanging on. Vote out the incumbents who got us into this mess in the first place by spending our money like there is no tomorrow. We need responsible government who will do what is in the best interests of the country, not the clueless people in there now.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 2:56 PM, sept2749 wrote:

    Right, the recession is over! Ridiculous. I've seen several recessions over the last 45 years and this one is a doozy! Forget the numbers the government gives us - for Christ's sake there is an election coming up. We are in big trouble and for the kids right out of school, what the hech do they know about recessions other then what they are fed.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 3:20 PM, j398112 wrote:

    What fantasy world do these academic economists and poseurs live in? Their quantitative models are similar to those the investment "banks" like Lehman Brothers (read business gambling houses) used to make lots of money until the unexpected happened that fell outside their model. We have today an economy operating at production levels far far below full employment with continuing bankruptcies, foreclosures, and pink slips.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 3:33 PM, lifesaver68 wrote:

    @jm7700229,

    So, I assume you would like to see the ceo's, board members, etc., of large corporations jailed when they decide to walk away from their debt obligations? If you don't think this does happen, think again! Since we have been steadily going in the direction of making corporations "individuals," (see most recently the S. Court's decision regarding political spending), I think it would only be fair to jail everyone who is ultimately responsible for making the decision to default on their corporation's debts, (thereby lowering the value of their "neighbors" in American industry)......although this idea may not sit very well with those who are working toward making corporations equal to individuals......fair is fair, right?

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 4:30 PM, 321dropping wrote:

    @jm7700229,

    Housing prices plummeted BEFORE walkaways started. They dropped due to banker/appraiser/Fed illegal/shady activities being "discovered" by investors.

    The plummet is CAUSING hard-working people to walk away from mortgages because they got RIPPED OFF by the banker/appraiser/Fed illegal/shady bubble. You've got it backwards.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 4:55 PM, garyslea wrote:

    Mr. Housel, it sounds like you actually believe this BS. If so, I have lots of different things for sale... when can we schedule an appointment for a sales call...

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 6:02 PM, jeffreyastus wrote:

    Nearly all Americans were spending too much and going into too much debt for many years. In the old days the money I put in the bank was the money the bank loaned to someone else to buy a home. We got to a point in about 2006 where the average American spent more than they made. This recession, hopefully, was a wake up call for everyone and we'll get back on track if the government doesn't try to "fix" things and really screw it up!

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 9:47 PM, permabear1 wrote:

    The only reason the economy and stock market bounced back is because the government and the Fed have propped them up. Take away the stimulus and the "Quantitative Easing" (aka monetizing the debt) and what you would be left with would be a great depression. Deleveraging is going to occur either way. We have a choice of a Great Depression or an endless malaise. So far the powers that be are choosing the Japan model.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2010, at 11:26 PM, Buzzard9 wrote:

    Sorry, folks, but most of you need to grow up and dump the attitudes.

    If you spend all of your time denying that the people who have been used for several decades to make the decision about when a "recession" ends are valid, why should any of us respect any source that you care to cite, or statistic you care to put forth?

    It appears that hatred of the government is leading many of you to dump careful thought for emotional reaction and reliance upon your fears to guide you. That is always a very, very poor way to help the nation and the world.

    You are more concerned about the well being of the nation and world than a particular political party or personal gains, aren't you? Are you truly listening and learning, or are you simply running to the ramparts of self defense and dumping all of your emotions into screaming about others who are to blame for what has happened to us over the last three decades? Be honest with yourselves.

    I cannot remember a more self serving time in the eight decades I've been around, nor a more bitter public discourse. Far too many of you are only concerned with yourselves. That means the "Common weal" is long gone and so, perhaps, is our nation.

    Grow up!

  • Report this Comment On September 25, 2010, at 2:52 AM, Profesrebel wrote:

    Soooo much negativity and gloom. What a formidable "wall of worry."

    We must be closer to the bottom than the top in this market....

  • Report this Comment On September 25, 2010, at 9:45 AM, crawlfish wrote:

    The long term trends of lower wages more extreme income distribution caused this recession. The middle class buys things generating demand which allows business to expand and hire. The upper crust mainly invest their income , a lot of it overseas. As their income went up they bid up equities and real estate causing the bubbles we have experience. The main driver of demand, the middle class is tapped out and cannot spend enough to lift our economy out of this mess.The upper income do not generate much demand. I do not want socialism but if we do not change government policies that caused our situation that I fear is what we will get.

  • Report this Comment On September 25, 2010, at 7:41 PM, houstontx5 wrote:

    Hey Mr. Buzzard, you criticize the blamers and you just blamed the problem on the last three years. You forgot that this administration has spent more than all the other administrations together.

    Our problems are a symtom of a weak financial foundation. Throwing money at the effect does nothing to the cause. Which is what we are doing.

    I will help people who are helping themselves. But I saw on TV where a lady got into a Habitat for Humanity Home and can not pay for it while her son drives a Cadilac.

    No self respecting person wants to pick up the trash. Neither do they want to go work out in the fields to pick our food.

    My father was able to care for a family of 8 including himself on his pay check alone. Now, it takes two pay checks and then you are still spinning your wheels. And allow me to say " I don't know how some of the younger kids make it on one pay check. I mean really! No wonder many of them are having to stay with their parents.

    Companies are loyal to shareholders and money. In the blink of an eye they will fire you so that they do not have to see their profits go down.

    I think that one of the things we need to do is set people up in their own business and make them employee owned.

  • Report this Comment On September 25, 2010, at 7:52 PM, houstontx5 wrote:

    321dropping..... so what you are saying is that I should lose my house because the contract I agreed with and singhed was wrong. And further, if I lose my house it will not be because I lost my job or because I have over spent my earnings.

    Just so that you know. It is not fair to me that the Government gave people 8000 dollars so that they would buy a house. Did those people use the 8000 dollars and apply it to the loan? NO, many of them bought a car or decided to take a trip. How do you like them apples?????

    Some people really did lose their job and I understand that. I however do not understand people who party and then find themselves in a financial hole. Then of course it is the governments fault. Well, you could say that the government does encourage people to spend and if you recieve social security you can not work. soooooo I guess the government does.

  • Report this Comment On September 26, 2010, at 1:37 AM, speedman7 wrote:

    MOTLEY FOOL is killing it's own great BRAND. You are welcoming a recovery that has not come along, spending is actually way down (except for some large box stores), businesses have been closing, construction is way down andnot moving to the 2007 area, and bank lending is stiffled to say the least. So, confidence is not justifiably in the right miondframe to assist a surge in the economy, the GNP might be going up (but it is not relective of a full recovery), and the statisticians are not focused on what the USA economy is all about : RETAIL SALES and Production to feed RETAIL sales. Auot sales are stagnant when you consider all brands and financial services sotck prices are no where near the 2007-20087 levels, and most of the stock market (even witht he recent surge upwards/ is not much hgher than tne years ago. So, how does any reputable financial advisor say that we are doing so well and that the recession is over?

    It tries to sell more of it's newletters, sends out millions of unwanted emails with exhuberant titles, and trying to give people ticklers that don;t provide much information in less than 10,000 words or pages. UGH UGH UGH Cowabunga as Clarabell said. Actually, it was Chief Thuinder-Thurd who said Cowabunga, since Clarabell only spoke once (on the last show). Motley Fool has become puppets in the market advice business!

  • Report this Comment On September 26, 2010, at 12:53 PM, houstontx5 wrote:

    I used the Fool's services many years ago and did very well. I had considered using them again but I have noticed that they are promoding or advertizing many other people.

    The Fool's always told you that you should not short your stocks. Here lately they are doing just that. Now I am afriad of them hhhhmmmmm

    Any one of you using their services and succeeding?

  • Report this Comment On September 26, 2010, at 4:24 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    "You are welcoming a recovery that has not come along, spending is actually way down (except for some large box stores)"

    False, actually. Spending is at an all-time high:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?chart_type=line&...

  • Report this Comment On September 26, 2010, at 11:35 PM, Roul wrote:

    You spell recovery JOBS... and there are too few of them. Its unlikely we will see much of a recovery considering the huge outsourcing of jobs to other countries which has occured over the past decade.

    If a large segment of the population can't find work there can't be much of a recovery except for those who do nothing to add value to the economy. Its pretty simple.

  • Report this Comment On September 27, 2010, at 4:03 PM, jgneuw wrote:

    Insider selling-to-buying ratio currently is about 1400

    to 1. Does that sound like the recession is over or that

    corp leaders are back to business as usual?

    What we have here is a failure to communicate as well as a bunch of idiots running the U.S. government.

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