The US has lost more jobs than it has added since the recovery began over a year ago. The downturn officially ended, and the recovery officially began, in June 2009, according to the announcement on Monday.
Since that point, total output — the amount of goods and services produced by the US — has increased, as have many other measures of economic activity.
But non-farm payrolls are still down 329,000 from their level at the recession’s official end 15 months ago, and the slow growth means that the unemployed still have a long slog ahead.
“We started from a deep hole,” said James Poterba, member of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee.
The declaration confirms that the 2007-09 recession was the deepest post-World War II recession, in terms of jobs lost.
The announcement also implies that any contraction that might lie ahead would be a separate and distinct recession, and one that the Obama administration could not claim to have inherited. While economists generally say such a double-dip recession seems unlikely, new monthly estimates of gross domestic product, released by two committee members, show that output shrank in May and June, the most recent months for which data is available.
Output and other factors would have to shrink for a longer period of time before another contraction might be declared.
Even without a full-blown double dip, the recovery thus far has been so anaemic that the job picture seems likely to stagnate, perhaps even worsen, in the near future.
The New York Times