The good news this week was that the body responsible for dating US recessions, the National Bureau of Economic Research, finally declared that the so-called Great Recession was over.
It was the longest since the Depression, running from December 2007 to June 2009, and twice as deep as in 1981-2, causing a 4% loss in GDP.
The bad news was last night’s statement from the US central bank, the Federal Reserve – here is the entire first paragraph:
The pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months.
Household spending is increasing gradually, but remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit.
Business spending on equipment and software is rising, though less rapidly than earlier in the year, while investment in non-residential structures continues to be weak.
Employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls.
Housing starts are at a depressed level.
Bank lending has continued to contract, but at a reduced rate in recent months.
The Committee anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability, although the pace of economic recovery is likely to be modest in the near term.
Unsurprisingly, the Financial Times is already calling the ‘recovery’ since June last year, the Great Disappointment.