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The Daily Need

‘Did we double dip and no one noticed?’

Traders gather on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, July 29, 2011. Photo: AP/Richard Drew

The recovery from the Great Recession – technically December 2007 to June 2009 – has been described a lot of different ways, none of which are particularly encouraging: sluggish, weak, jobless and even anemic. But what if it hasn’t been a recovery at all?

This morning the U.S. Commerce Department released new data that showed that real GDP – “the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States – increased at an annual rate of 1.3 percent” from April to June of this year. While this is technically growth and not contraction, the numbers were less than what economists expected and clearly a disappointment when markets are already skittish over debt limit drama in Washington, D.C. But adding to the bad news, the Commerce Department also released revised data that showed the amount of growth during the “recovery” had been overstated.

For 2007 to 2010, real GDP decreased at an average annual rate of 0.3 percent; in the previously published estimates, real GDP had increased at an average annual rate of less than 0.1 percent. From the fourth quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2011, real GDP decreased at an average annual rate of 0.2 percent; in the previously published estimates, real GDP had increased at an average annual rate of 0.2 percent.

According to Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, these new revisions might mean that we’re in the midst of another recession. “Did we double-dip and no-one noticed?” he asked on Twitter this morning. “My bets: 40% chance and peak was 4 months ago.”

While the official declaration of a recession – if we’re in one – will probably not be for some time (the recession that started in December 2007 was not announced in until December 2008), we may be soon able to add a new description to the recovery: nonexistent.

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  • Dalbin

    As with the extreme wealth inequality that has, until recently, been the elephant in the room, whatever economic recovery the country has experienced has gone to those at the top. For the majority of citizens, well, very little, if any.

  • DollySue

    I see more and more houses standing empty… no recovery here!

  • Ckelley25

    I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around what “they” mean when they say recovery.  I work for a company that during the thick of the recession the employees had to take a 20% pay cut.  That is a lot of money when you have children to take care of or a disabled person that you assist.  There are all types of needs for your salary not to be “tampered” with.  And now here we are in a so-called “recovery” and we got back our 20%, but our salaries are the same as they were the day the 20% was taken. 

    We were returned to whatever salary we were paid before the cut.  And since that time we have been given no raises.  Yet all businesses raise prices, change interest rates, add on more fees, place more ala carte products on the market and by ala carte I mean you buy something and then have to choose from a menu to make this something work, adding more to the cost of “it”.  How do “we” pay or buy when our salaries are locked in and doesn’t grow?  I go nearly rabid with anger when some sales person calls me trying to sell me something when I already owe them money.  As the prices rise and I find myself paying out more for what I already have, I find that I have less money left over each year that the company I work for continues to pay me the same salary that I made 4 years ago.  I see myself approaching a day when there is nothing left over after the bills are paid – perioid. 

    So no, I personally don’t see any recovery, and I don’t think there will be one because the level of GREED for the owners of business and industry to make PROFIT is going to destroy all of us who don’t own anything.  I don’t even feel anymore comfort in saying I own my home or my car because, I don’t, whomever finances me is the one who owns it.  I don’t own it until the last note is paid, we all know that these days it is rare to complete paying off a home, and when you pay off the last note of the car…the car falls apart and you have to go out and buy another one. And why is that? “That” is because companies are making products to not last very long so they can more money, and the consumer is constantly forced to keep replacing things.  No more products that last until “you” are ready to throw it out!  You are forced now to keep buying and replacing items that last no longer than the warranty which is 6 to 18 months, and then you have to replace it.   Recovery is something that you experience if you survive an illness or injury, it is NOT a word to use with MONEY… not anymore!