Great Recession or Mini-Depression?
Words may be failing economists and others who characterize the economic downturn that began in 2008 as “the Great Recession.” “Mini-Depression” may be more like it.
The recession that began in January 2008 was more severe than any of the other 10 recessions the United States has endured since World War II. The decline in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed previous records and the percentage of American workers without jobs nearly did so. And the expansion of the U.S. economy since the recession officially ended in June 2009 has been sluggish, challenging the economists’ adage “The sharper the decline, the quicker the recovery.” The growth rate in 2011 fluctuated around two percent, much too low to make a significant dent in the number of Americans without work, despite the Obama administration’s injection of more than $750 billion into the national economy and the provision of virtually free money to financial institutions by the Federal Reserve.
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Robert Z. Aliber, a former Wilson Center fellow, is a professor emeritus of international economics and finance at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. His latest book (with Charles P. Kindleberger) is Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises (6th ed., 2011).more from this author >>