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AP: ‘Recession’ Among Longest Postwar

From the fashion writer turned economics maven, Jeannine Aversa of the Associated Press:

Paul Nawrocki, left, from Beacon, N.Y., listens as Wayne [sic], after reading his sign, points him in the direction of a job ‘handing out flyers’ near Bryant Park in New York, Tuesday Nov. 18, 2008. Nawrocki, who has been out of work since February, walks around the city wearing a sign that says ‘Almost Homeless,’ as he hands out his resume and look for work

People draw unemployment benefits at 26-year high

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – More evidence of consumers’ weary state and the nation’s deteriorating job market came Thursday with reports that people continuing to draw unemployment benefits climbed to a 26-year high, while retail sales and orders to U.S. factories sank.

The number of newly laid-off people signing up for unemployment benefits last week dropped by 21,000 to 509,000, the Labor Department reported. Even with the drop — which was better than the increase economists were forecasting — the level of jobless applications was still quite high and pointed to a deeply troubled employment climate.

The number of people continuing to draw unemployment benefits last week climbed to 4.09 million, a 26-year high…

A grim picture was forming as retailers reported their November sales Thursday.

Costco Wholesale Corp., usually a strong performer, reported a bigger-than expected drop in same-store sales. Other retailers that saw declines in same-store sales are Bon-Ton Stores Inc., Limited Brands Inc. and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, are considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health.

All told, the Goldman Sachs-International Council of Shopping Centers sales index of retailers is expected to show a 1 percent drop in November, slightly worse than the 0.9 percent decline in October. That would be the weakest November performance since at least 1969 when the index began.

Basically shoppers and workers are being told there is no Santa Claus,” said Richard Yamarone, an economist at Argus Research…

Heading into the holidays, the country’s economic picture has darkened further, according to a Federal Reserve survey of business conditions around the country released on Wednesday. Americans hunkered down, forcing retailers to ring up fewer sales and factories to cut back on production.

The survey suggested the country was sinking deeper into recession

The Fed didn’t use the word “recession,” but just two days earlier the National Bureau of Economic Research declared what many Americans already knew in their bones: that the country had been suffering through one since last December

“We’ve seen things fall off a cliff,” said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. “Everybody — consumers and businesses — are just freezing.” …

The economy jolted into reverse in the summer as consumers slashed their spending by the most in 28 years.

Many believe the economy will continue to shrink through the rest of this year and into the first quarter of next year. At 12 months and counting, the current recession is longer than the 10-month average length of recessions since World War II. The record for the longest recession in the postwar period is 16 months, which was reached in the 1973-75 and 1981-82 downturns.

Never mind that the dire predictions of the “experts” in the article, like countless predictions in the past, will most likely not come true.

(And never mind that retail sales quoted still refuse to mention online shoppers.)

Of course we all know by now that for Ms. Aversa words have long since ceased to have any meaning:

Many believe the economy will continue to shrink through the rest of this year and into the first quarter of next year. At 12 months and counting, the current recession is longer than the 10-month average length of recessions since World War II..

Suddenly it is gospel that we have been in a “recession” for 12 months.

Never mind that in the real world the word “recession” means two quarters of decline (negative growth) in gross domestic product (GDP) in succession.

Which we still have not had yet.

Meanwhile, another reporter working for the Associated Press put the same story this way:

New jobless claims drop unexpectedly

AP Economics Writer

New claims for jobless benefits fell unexpectedly last week but the number of people continuing to receive government aid reached a 26-year high and large companies announced more job cuts Thursday.

The Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to a seasonally adjusted 509,000, from an upwardly revised figure of 530,000 for the previous week. That was significantly below analysts’ estimates of 537,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters…

Try to guess which version is getting more play.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, December 4th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

27 Responses to “AP: ‘Recession’ Among Longest Postwar”

  1. crosspatch says:

    I’m not buying it. What about the recession that started in the Ford administration, lasted through the Carter administration and two years into the Reagan administration? Heck, I was due to get out of the military during the Carter administration but things were so bad I decided to stay a while and wait for the world to come around again and see what it looked like then.

  2. Anonymoose says:

    Funny thing is a friend of mine who is very liberal keeps insisting that we were financially doing great and secure under Carter. I’ve given up trying to argue about it with her……

  3. proreason says:

    “words have meaning”

    And the meaning of Recession is well-known. 2 consequtive quarters of negative growth.

    Growth was positive in the 2nd quarter and negative (slightly) in the 3rd quarter this year, so we aren’t in a recession until that is official. But 4th quarter growth is projected as stongly negative, and isn’t likely to rebound enough in December to overcome Oct and Nov……so we probably ARE in a recession..

    The government is putting us there, and it won’t be any minor “adjustment” either. Obamy and his socialist colleagues are busy as bees attempting to destroy capitalism, and if it takes a Depression, as far as they are concerned, so be it.

    The best case would be that they don’t succeed. But if the economy does manage to come out of the tailspin it is clearly in, the burden on future generations will be so huge, and the net worth of the country is already so depleted, that anybody who thinks this hasn’t been a cataclysmic event is smokin something.

    You can thank Barney Franks, the CRA, George Soros, the Obamy campaign, the nitwits in Congress, Alan Greenspan, and the media that has been declaring a Depression for 12 months to get Obamy elected. They got what they were hoping for. The anti-capitalish nit-wit is President. The cost to you…….the country’s net worth is 20% lower than in Oct 2007 and sinking fast.

    It will take decades to recover. And since the country has to be “fair”, readers of this web-site, who are from the top 10% of the country, will be paying 100% of the burden.

    And if Obamy senses he is in trouble, it could become even worse, because the One is certainly not going to risk his change to be king of the world on something so minor as your wealth.

  4. bill says:

    Backdating — Got to prepare for Obammunism.

    These words from the great one come to mind — “It isn’t that Liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” – Ronald Reagan

  5. Liberals Demise says:

    AP says, “There is no Santa……..Easter Bunny worried he’s next”.
    Now we are told we’ve been in a recession since last December. These baffoons are shooting in all directions hoping to hit something eventually. Duck, cover and get your fannies down. They are bound to hit something soon!

  6. crosspatch says:

    Try this google news search and you can see how no matter which way jobs go, it is always “unexpected”.

  7. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    I know the feeling. I’ve known a few people in my past who thought things were great under Carter and that the difficulties of his administration were holdovers from the Nixon years. But what I remember from Carter’s brief reign (thank God!) was double digit interest rates, a demoralized and despised military, being pushed around and held hostage by the thugocrat crapistan country of Iran, and trying to place nice with an aggressive Soviet empire naively hoping they would respond in kind. Not to mention the country being awash in a sea of shame and defeatism. As for our economic downturn it never ceases to amaze me that the so called economics experts forget that life is full of cycles both positive and negative. While it’s nice we can’t ride the gravy train forever and should expect some bumps or derailments along the way. Sometimes I wish I could confront these doom and gloom idiots on Wall Street and tell them to grow a pair and stop panicking.

    P.S. bill, Great quote from Reagan, the old man definitely had a sense of humor.

  8. U NO HOO says:

    “Backdating — Got to prepare for Obammunism.”

    It started with Clinton’s tax increase.

  9. Colonel1961 says:

    Oh, for the love of Pete!!! If a recession is not two straight quarters of negative economic (GDP) growth, then I guess we can redefine it to be anything we want, right? Said another way, there will be a recession every time an incumbent Republican President runs for re-election…

  10. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    Take special note. For every election year there always seems to be a hint of a recession. It’s as if investors and shareholders stop and hold their breath to see who the next POTUS will be. And what he will or won’t do.

  11. proreason says:

    ” Said another way, there will be a recession every time an incumbent Republican President runs for re-election…”

    That is exactly what the media has said since WWII. No matter what the state of the economy, the media claimed a recession for a sitting Republican President.

    This time they started squaking about mid 2007.

    It also has a tendancy to become a self-fulfilling prophesy, since if people are scared, they hunker down, and when consumers aren’t spending, the economy doesn’t grow.

    Right now though, we are in a bad recession. The media got it’s hope, spurred on by other actions designed to get Obamy elected and bring an end to capitalism. i.e., induced collapse of Credit Markets; Failure of Fannie Mae, Lehman Bros, AIG, etc.;stock market and gas price manipulation in September and October; and the “bail-out”. The conditions for all of those “events” had existed for months or years, and then mysteriously coalesced immediately after the weekend of Sept 6-7, which was when Gallup announced McCain had the lead. Within a few days, McCain’s approval fell off the map and Obamy walked into the White House.

  12. GuppyNblue says:

    I’m definitely one who believes that intentional manipulation is destroying our economy and this for the sake of destroying our nation. Constant dire predictions of a recession are a tried and true way to get you one.

    But the last straw for me came 3 days ago.

    First we had the Community Reinvestment Act which led to the mortgage crises. Risky subprime mortgages were purchased and sold by issuers around the world. Those who pushed for CRA had to know that many would inevitably fail and the damage would be extensive. These same people should have been held accountable but instead are being rewarded by the new administration.

    We had the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act which allowed for the market’s dive (coincidently right before an election). The reasons for its repeal were basically to let Citigroup continue risky behavior that should have been stamped out instead.

    This past Monday we find out that the US credit card industry (Citigroup is one of the big three issuers) may pull back over $2 trillion in credit lines over the next 18 months. They made this announcement three weeks before Christmas and when this economy needs consumer spending desperately. Millions of accounts will be closed and interest rates hiked up.

    But here’s the last straw and probably the nail in the US coffin. We all know that we’re paying for these bailouts and our debt in general by selling US treasuries. The treasury market is now at risk of collapsing. “Following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September, fails to deliver among the 17 primary dealers in the US treasury market have rocketed to more than $2 trillion over a period of weeks and still lie above $1.3 trillion. Broker/dealers have stopped delivering bonds.”
    Why isn’t the FED forcing their delivery? Why didn’t they do so in 2002 when broker/dealers were intentionally failing to deliver bonds, hoping that rising interest rates would increase their revenue?

    As they lose their appeal to investors we will need to raise interest rates. But if we raise interest rates we kill investment which again, this economy desperately needs.

    I know my writing skills suck so please link here for a better explanation. I can’t express enough how serious this is. If the treasury market fails, we are done for.

  13. proreason says:

    Interesting item from Victor Davis Hanson’s blog “1. The Reality. No one will discuss the mass exodus of a particular type of taxpayer. Thousands of highly-educated, highly-paid Californians the last decades have cashed out their ample housing equities, and left the state due to high income and sales taxes, poor schools, high crime, and an unworkable bureaucracy. We don’t seem to regret why they leave, and whether it says as much about us as them. Many move to nearby low or no income-tax Nevada, Utah, and Oregon where they can commute, work over the Internet, and take advantage of far cheaper costs, but still enjoy a Western-state informal lifestyle.”

    I think this is happening/will happen on a larger scale for the U.S. and that tax revenues are going to fall by huge amounts in Obamy-world.

    Just one other little factor in the overall economic catastophe brought courtesy of your favorite government “servants”.

  14. GuppyNblue says:

    And still Arnold wants to beg for a handout. His state is losing valuable taxpayers and instead of making the fixes that might keep them in California he panders to the moochers. Thats a downward spiral. I’m convinced that many see the bailouts as incentive to slack off a bit because the governments got them covered. Every time I hear about more foreclosures I have to wonder how many of those wouldn’t be happening if bailouts weren’t available. Its sucks for those trying to get by honestly.

    I think I’ll email him a link to the thread about how Ford dealt with New York in 75.

  15. proreason says:

    “Its sucks for those trying to get by honestly.”

    Guppy, I wouldn’t have said it 6 months ago, but that strategy is now inoperative.

    Why should you be honest when the government has destroyed the economy to buy votes, the politicians lie cheat and steal in plain sight, and everyone else, including gazillionaires are running around trying to grab government hand-outs and threatening suicide-this and suicide-that if it doesn’t happen (which you will end up paying for).

    You are in Bizarro-world now. All the values you were taught are upside down.

    Under these conditions, being honest is being a sucker.

  16. GuppyNblue says:

    C’mon proreason. You do realize that, especially when all hell breaks loose, that they can’t take your soul. That has to be given by ones personal choice.

  17. proreason says:


    I’m not kidding.

    Look at what is going on in Minnesota. This stuff is SANCTIONED by the President Elect of the United States.

    Criminals are running the country. They LOVED Clinton. They want more.

    Bush is one of the most honorable men to ever serve his country. Too honorable to even defend himself. Look what they did to him.

    Look at what they did to Sarah Palin. All that woman has ever done is raise a family and do her best for Alaska. EVERY leader of the Democratic party is a scumbag compared to her. Obamy – Chicago thug, drugs, voter fraud, inveterate liar, bribe taker, etc., etc.. Clinton – enough said. Biden – duplicitous liar, bribe taker, plagarist. Barney Franks – pimp, liar, scoundrel. John Kerry – traitor, liar, braggart. Harry Reid – Bribe taker, liar, scoundrel. Kennedy – murderer, serial DWI, alchoholic. and on and on. Republicans, frankly, are only better in contrast.

  18. GuppyNblue says:

    IMO you’re right on. All I’m saying is, they can strip us of everything thing we have, including our freedom, but our soul and all the virtues that accompany it, can only be given – not taken.
    Personally I prefer that we don’t give them anything. If we organized like they do and were staunchly righteous in our cause, we could beat the living sh*t out of them.

  19. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. But I think the main reason that people don’t take the moral high ground is because it is oft times an unpopular, lonely, and difficult path to walk.

  20. GuppyNblue says:

    “But I think the main reason that people don’t take the moral high ground is because it is oft times an unpopular, lonely, and difficult path to walk.”

    That’s partly because we’re living in a generation where many have never experienced consequences for their actions. They don’t understand that it’s vanity that leads to disgrace and selfishness that ultimately leads to loneliness. Life presents challenges from the moment we’re born and the living eagerly accept that.

    I’m not just being a blowhard. I’ve suffered the lose of what little family I had to the low ground and personally understand that there’s no reward in the end. You’re right, (and sorry for the personal drama) it is the fear of these natural and inevitable challenges that lead so many timid little feeble f*cks to their mindless whining ways.

  21. EvaTheFrisbeeDog says:

    Every recession is the “worst”, just like”the crawfish boil you at is the best crawfish boil you ever been.”

    Let’s see, we’ll probably see positive GDP growth on average for the entire year, 93.3% of Americans who want to work are working, 95% of mortgages are OK, gasoline is down to $1.60 a gallon, and it’s a great time to buy a house….things could be much worse, and may get that way if the govt keeps nationalizing the private sector.

  22. Dangerous says:

    +1 on Guppy. Thankfully, until the opposition steals the government here in Canada, it’s only an intellectual exercise, but I’d like to think I’m too stiff-necked and stubborn to take a welfare cheque just because it’s the easy way out. I’d rather be a good man than a rich one. However, a young bachelor like me doesn’t have much to lose and no family to take care of, so if you feel that disqualifies my opinion, feel free to ignore me.

  23. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    The failure of our country’s Greatest Generation was the failure to instill in their children the importance of personal sacrifice and the clear distinction between right and wrong. I’m personally convinced this wasn’t because they wanted to raise the next generation to be apathetic but to ensure that they didn’t have to endure the hardships they did during the great depression. Their intentions were noble but have led to disastrous results. The selfishness of the baby boomers was passed onto their children as well. I would like to think that somewhere down the line these people will wake up but there are too many organizations that lend a shoulder to cry on and offer a hand out rather than a hand up. They keep the masses locked into a perpetual state of victimhood of which I refuse to be a part of.

  24. proreason says:

    “the main reason that people don’t take the moral high ground is because it is oft times an unpopular, lonely, and difficult path to walk”

    people follow their leaders.

    Look at this country’s leaders…..Obamy, Biden, Pelosi, Reid, Clinton, Franks, Kennedy

    I would never recommend treating other individuals with anything less than honor and integrity…..but why would anyone feel like we owe honor and integrity to the government?. That compact started to go under with Nixon, approached the cliff with Clinton, and now it has gone over the cliff.

    The government wlllfully and without your knowledge instigated the credit crisis (via CRP lending to unqualified buyers), a crisis which some here are downplaying, but which is extremely serious by any measure. The Obamy campaign misrepresented every aspect of his life and every aspect of his “policies”. The campaign accused one of America’s greatest heroes of being a racist, and vilified a decent woman with 5 children who has served her state with integrity. The campaign of the president-elect participated in voter fraud and donor fraud on a massive scale. During the campaign, the stock market and oil markets were manifulated by campaign allies (the SEC is currently investigating. Have you heard about it?) and that has driven millions of people out of work and ruined the retirement of millions of other people. The sum total of the hit to the country is now $20 trillion or more (over a net worth of about $100 trillion). Even if the country comes out of the crisis, the accumulated new debt for future generations is approaching 50% of the annual national income. Every solution being seriously considered is a Socialistic solution. Free market solutions are ignored.

    The values encouraged by the new government are sloth, entitlement, racial preference and irresponsibility. The behavioural examples that have been set are to punish and destroy those who disagree with your views by any means available. The goal is equal outcome, not equal opportunity (except for the elite, who are doing just fine, thanks.) We see evidence of and hear further talk of limiting free speech, limiting gun rights, limiting religious expression and of forcing young people into involuntary “service” to their country so that they can be indoctrinated into acceptance of government control.

    So why again should we think that conducting oneself with traditional values will be useful in this new regime of hope and change?

    As I’ve said, the greatest enemy of this country is it’s own government.

  25. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    You carry on with your traditional values and cling to your conservative roots because it’s better than what we have now and will have come January 20th, 2009. All is not lost even if all seems dark. You stand up for what you know is right and don’t cave under the tsunami of liberalism headed our way. And although a conservative, I haven’t always agreed with what Reagan, George H. or George W. have done. Not because I took the liberals position but because I felt in those instances my presidents had strayed from the faith of true conservatism i.e. fiscal and personal responsibility, pro-life, and smaller government. Yes it looks like we conservatives will face some hard times ahead but I strongly encourage you not to give up hope.

  26. proreason says:

    12 Gauge

    Thanks for those well-stated thoughts. As your can see, I haven’t been feeling very positive about the state of affairs since late summer.

  27. 12 Gauge Rage says:


    I can understand your mood. Despite all the things Obama said, his voting record, his past and current associations with questionable people it amazed me how many votes he gathered. There’s no doubt in my mind the public as a whole saw McCain as nothing but an extension of George W. and didn’t want that. They wanted ‘change they could believe in’ and that’s what they’ll get. But in the end it won’t be what they wanted. Unfortunately when the promises of change don’t happen quickly enough the democratic spin machine will say that its’ taking longer than expected to undo the damage from the previous administration. But take heart, even at the height of communism there were some who woke up and saw it for what it really was. They in turn renounced communism and become the biggest most vocal opponents of that system. The question now remains, how long will it take for some of these followers to see that their emperor has no clothes? Although I am very disappointed to see many former high ranking retired military personnel joining Obama’s team. But when I look and see who they are I remember that when I was in the service I didn’t like them then either. I hate to say this but liberalism and political correctness has entered the military and become firmly entrenched. My one consolation is that when I retired my discharge papers were signed by George W. and not Al Gore.

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