Charting The Worst And Soon To Be Shortest Economic "Recovery" Ever

Tyler Durden's picture

The Minneapolis Fed has launched a useful charting service which analyzes not only the Great Recession, which allegedly has ended (must be news to the 1.8 million...and growing...newly uncovered unemployed, but we'll take the NBER's word for it) but the even Greater Recovery that we have presumably been in for the past 6 months or so. At least those Fed critters have a twisted sense of humor. In order to quantify just how funny they are, the Min Fed provides the following preamble "The 2007-2009 recession is widely thought to have ended sometime last
summer. How bad was this recession, and how quickly is the economy
recovering? How does this recession and recovery compare to previous
cycles?"How indeed? Here are the charts which just a cursory perusal will lead the peruser to wonder what on earth the administration is smoking. Recovery indeed. 

So here are the pretty charts.

First, a comparison of all recession since 1948 looking at the change in employment. Keep in mind the black dot is the place in time when the recovery presumably started.

Here is a comparable chart for overall economic output:

It is obvious that the "recovery" is so far predicated upon a rise in output, not an improvement in unemployment. And the only reason output is growing is because China, which is doing exactly the same thing the US is, and buying up all excess US production (the part that is not imaginary in the GDP calculation, i.e., the government contribution) has still not imploded. This will likely change very soon with the ever increasing monetary tightening measures adopted by the Chinese.

Going back to employment, it is without doubt that the current Recession Recovery is now the harshest one for US employees since the Great Depression in both length...

and depth...If only the government was truthful in revealing the real economic debalce, the question mark might have been replaced with an actual number

Looking at output next, the data is a little better, but the environment is still the worst it has been in 60 years.

No question mark in the total change chart, just cold, hard truth.

Lastly, a glance at the employment situation in the two hardest hit states from an employment perspective reveals nothing to write the NBER thank you letters about.

With more negative data like the NFP from today coming ever more often, and confirming the recent peak in the economy is behind us, we expect a full double dip soon. As such, the so-called "recovery" will be the shortest one in history.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Hephasteus's picture

What's the point of a huge nasty recession if it won't send all the troublemakers off to recess so the people who CAN fix it will. This is pointless stupid pain.

perchprism's picture


Seriously.  It makes me think that no political solution is possible, in which case we might as well prepare for a complete collapse so that, phoenix-like, we can rise anew from the ashes. 

Personal disclosure:  Prepared

Hacker's picture



What political solution is there to population growth vs finite resources?

Missing_Link's picture

I don't think that's the problem so much.  We've always had population growth and finite resources.

What we haven't had throughout history is massive spending and entitlement growth and debt explosion without a corresponding increase in taxable production.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture


Population growth and finite resources have always been there (and always will be).

Our current problems in getting out of this are based on political cowardice and the weakness of our people to stand up and say:

-- We want our country back!

-- Stop the spending!

-- Get the government off our backs!

/rant off

chet's picture

At one point the American President announced we should land people on the moon within 10 years, and we did it.

Now simply reforming boring programs that we know are broken takes more political will than anyone in D.C. can muster.

The front wave of the Baby Boom generation destroyed this country.  Took everything they wanted it, never told themselves "no", charged it to their kids and grandkids, and bitched the whole way about taxes still being too high.

moneymutt's picture

Moon was okay with businesses, and gave NASA tons of money to do other "fun" things...

if you plan on doing something big entrenched elite, business folks are okay with, and it happens fast...see TARP...

do something that helps regular folks a little with huge windfall for special inside corny businesses, it happens pretty fact (see Iraq war, Medicare Part D),

propose doing something that helps regular folks without lining some entrenched interests pockets, it might happen (see national health exchange pool for all uninsured and small business to buy private insurance from, able to negotiate same deals big businesses get)

propose something that is good for regular folks, costs taxpayers almost nothing, and hurts insider crony businesses and other entrenched interests (see financial regulation, TBTF etc) and it will almost never happen...

....unless businesses and elite interests are scared to death of revolution.

Why did businesses go along with some of FDR's reforms in 30s...not because they were kind...they were scared, they were looking at class war....short of that, only reform we get is cost-inefficient stuff that throws small bone to regular guy while making others fabulously rich.

bokapita's picture

"We've always had population growth and finite resources."

We have not, actually, in the economics-relevant sense of the phrase. There has always been somewhere else to discover/develop/exploit and not that many people (percentage-wise) doing the exploiting. For instance, the countries of the old British empire, the Americas, the far east. There are no longer nay unknown places and communications have enabled the mass of the world's dispossessed to see how the other 10% live, and they want it too. So right now, for the first time, we really do have resources that are finite in comparison with effective demand.

Cannot end well unless we go about things differently. Not much chance of that short of a collapse forcing it on us all. So, any year now then?

DaveyJones's picture

+100. Nor have we always built an entire society and agriculture system on a substance which took millions of years to form but, within a mere century, is getting to the point where it takes as much energy in to get that same unit of energy out. Without of course building a substantial energy system to take its place. Invading countries takes a lot of energy. Then there's all the excuses.

Anonymous's picture

our agricultural system is also dependent on fossil water reserves that we are sucking up at a far faster rate than they can be replenished by rainfall. and we're stripping our topsoil with monoculture, fertilizer-heavy farming. oops

Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

That's it. Lets invade Canada. They are sure to be doing soemthing, anything that deserves it.



I need more cowbell's picture

They gave us Leo; that's reason aplenty.

Missing_Link's picture

True!  Leo is reason enough.  How's that "buy on the dips" strategy working out for you, Leo?

The Canadians also have solvent banks, if you can believe that.

Let's march northward and raid their reserves!

Silly Canucks, thinking "fiscal responsibility" and other such old-fashioned nonsense would get them anything but trouble.

Mad Max's picture

Well, we invaded Iraq on a flimsier pretext.

Anonymous's picture

"Give us the banks pronto, or we'll nuke Toronto."

Mad Max's picture

Say that to Alberta and I guarantee you that their reply will be some form of "make my day."

milbank's picture

"I'll take Toronto, Quebec and St. John's Island too."

I think there's a song somewhere in there. ;-)

faustian bargain's picture

heck, a whole musical. I bet you could work in that "I's the b'y" song too.

moneymutt's picture

if we invade them, do we get their laws too, like legalized pot...they do have some nice commodities up there...and the jog down of the border at Toronto seems so asymmetrical, we should at least take Toronto.

Frank Owen's picture

pot is not legal here, just for the people who need it for medical reasons. Then again, if you get caught smoking a hoolie outside a bar or something the cops just make you put it out and keep walking. It would be legal if not for our somewhat pushy neighbours to the south. lol

If y'all going to invade Canada - You could call it "Operation Canadian Bacon"  :)

faustian bargain's picture

Maybe we could just call it "Operation, eh".

milbank's picture

It is our duty, as the police of the world, to bring Freedom and Democracy to Canukastan especially, those in the sand oil fields of Alberta.  You know they envy us for our Freedom and Democracy don't you?

Lets Roll!

Yardfarmer's picture

an interesting wrinkle to this much debated issue is the consideration of the long term and stratospherically escalating indebtedness of Japan especially as %GDP, which has been of late discounted due to the ability of its citizenry to absorb the vast quantity of the national debt (98%) through the purchase of BOJ treasury bonds. Increasing numbers of an aging population reaching retirement coupled with the fact that Japan reached the critical demographic juncture of negative population replacement a decade ago has rapidly depleted the capacity to domestically sustain ever increasing debt service which when coupled with the concomitant loss of tax revenues has created the conditions for the assumption of massive foreign debt holdings. Give the pathetically low yields on bonds and 35% interest on debt service this will not be forthcoming with the only outcome being long delayed hyperinflation growing out of the present debt deflation. Given the fact that Japan is second only to China in holdings of U.S. treasuries, this has serious if not staggering implications for the U.S. as well.

Hephasteus's picture

Can't we teach our phoenixes to quit before we have to take flamethrowers to their asses. Cause this shit is getting old.

bugs_'s picture

Nice to know there is a Minneapolis Fed.

WaterWings's picture

It's all part of the shell game - just keep your eye on the New York one, that's all you have to do. The D.C. location will make an excellent and ironic museum for the Second American Civil War - the location couldn't be any more appropriate.

Only three stars on Yelp:

Change in management coming soon.

Anonymous's picture

We know it's cold in Minneapoliss, and a drink or two is at times appropriate, but looking at the above charts -- one has to question the guy who put them together and asked -- is he or she on DRUGS. This is the typical idiocy that comes from governments as they always try to "baffle the masses with bullshit" rather than dazzle them with brilliance. Hilarious...

IKEA Is Swedish's picture

If the recovery out of the 2001 recession was a jobless recovery, does that make the 2007 installment the recoveryless recovery?

That ZIRP thingy is a big disappointment so far.


shargash's picture

That ZIRP thingy is a big disappointment so far.

Heh. You only say that because you don't work for Goldman.

DaveyJones's picture

for some strange reason, this headline did not give me an orgasm

Yophat's picture

sounds like a personal problem

Sqworl's picture

Roubini called it again, double dip..Boutique hotel logo...:-)

cougar_w's picture

He did and I think he got the timing right as well. He also called the strengthening dollar, and the impact on equities, and a critical fail-over of the cheap dollar carry (the latter seems to be next at bat.) He said gold at $1500 was unlikely (or that it was a joke). The guy tends to get it right whenever fundamentals are allowed to rule. He didn't call the short-lived rally because nobody really had a clue that the FED would literally buy the stairway to heaven.


moneymutt's picture

fed or not, bear market rally is pretty common, takes awhile for sheeple to come to reality, even after a near death exerience, they shrug it off and think good times are still on...but not denying manipulation...I think that explains the long slow increase this fall, real bear rally was probably done this summer...

cougar_w's picture

It's hard to call it a rally, even. Volumes were essentially zero. Nobody was trading at the peak. Just more smoke and mirrors so they could point to numbers and say "recovery! green shoots!"

The historians will look at the period from March09 to now and call it the largest and most successful act of baseless propaganda the world had ever known.


suteibu's picture

It's nice to be in a position not to have to find a job.  Now, if I can just hold on to what I've got so I won't have to find one in a year or two.

cougar_w's picture

[in a year or two]

A year or 10, you mean. And keep in mind that the job you held last year might not exist as a component of the economy the next time you stick your head out and look around.

Not sniping. I'm glad you are in the clear. Just don't assume that we're bringing the machine back the way it was last time. Prepare yourself for change. Good luck.


Edna R. Rider's picture

WTF is going on with oil?  USO down 5%?

shargash's picture

IMO, China is rolling over. It has single-handedly been propping up the commodity market. Compliance with quotas by OPEC members is decreasing, at the same time as the rest of the world heads into the double-dip. Despite peak oil, supply is currently higher than demand. Disclosure: I've been short oil since it went over $80/bbl.

E pluribus unum's picture

China rolling over would also explain the price action in gold. This could get ugly real fast.

Anonymous's picture

Or maybe it is a bubble bursting?

Same result I suppose.

Yophat's picture

Filled the strategic reserve (largest in the world) to the brim on Dec more buying.  Plenty of tankers sitting heavy in the ocean.  Refineries down to 80's levels due to demand collapse....all that despite the Saudi's killing a 1/3 of their production (4 million b/d).

Bear's picture

Futures at -3.3% ... why the difference?

shargash's picture

USO will always underperform when oil is in contango. Look at a 2 or 3 year chart of USO vs WTI. I bought a bunch of USO in 2007 when oil was around $70/bbl. I paid $62 for the USO. Oil is essentially unchanged since then, but USO is down almost 50%.

Anonymous's picture

What does a double dip mean? What will that look like? Negative GDP qtrs? 12% unempoyment? What do you think?

cougar_w's picture

It looks like this: W  :)

Negative GDP? Oh yes, several quarters perhaps four, but they will fudge the data so that we get 0.5% growth at some point at the bottom to keep this mess out of the history books.

12% Unemployment? At least. 18% in California and Michigan, far worse in individual cities in those states. And don't forget State and muni defaults from all sides. Predict general social unrest by H2 2011, though we might even be in a real recovery by then. By then, the landscape of the country will be unrecognizable from where we stand now.

All this is just my estimate from trajectory. I have nothing.