Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Recession Statistics

The St Louis FED has been providing data on the current Recession as compared to previous ones. They list the Business Cycle peaks as:

United States Business Cycle Peaks:

  • November 1948
  • July 1953
  • August 1957
  • April 1960
  • December 1969
  • November 1973
  • January 1980
  • July 1981
  • July 1990
  • March 2001
  • December 2007
They also state:

On November 28, 2008, the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared that a recession began in the United States in December 2007.1 This committee defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in production, employment, real income, and other indicators.” The U.S. economy has experienced six recessions over the past 40 years. On average these recessions have lasted 10.7 months. The longest recessions— beginning in November 1973 and July 1981—each lasted 16 months. The shortest recession—beginning in January 1980—lasted only six months.

They provide data on several factors during Recessions, average, max and min. We show some of these below:

First, Personal Income has dropped after a significant increase and remains at low levels.

Second Industrial Production is also low. It is in fact lower than any prior recession. That should be quite worrying and is so since it shows a long drawn out period of low production is expected.

Third, employment has set and continues to set the lowest level of any recession on the index basis. This is the major concern since this drives the deficit to the greatest degree. There are lower taxes received and greater expenditures on unemployment support. This may also presage a fundamental structural change in the economy.

Fourth, the GDP has reached a new low but is recovering ever so slightly as shown below:

Fifth, exports are improving despite the unemployment and lower production on an indexed basis. Perhaps the dollar changes may put pressure on this recovery element in the near term.

Sixth, imports also show some improvement which is consistent with GDP growth. They are however still well below the peak.