Charting The US (Un)Recovery

Tyler Durden's picture


How does the current recovery compare to those of the past? The following charts from the Council on Foreign Relations puts the current (un)recovery in context and despite some apparently bright news recently, the pictures underline the economy's weakness since the NBER's recovery began in June 2009.


The x-axis shows the number of months since the end of the recession. The dotted lines are composites of prior recoveries representing the weakest and strongest experiences of the past. The recovery's start date is set using the recession dates established by the National Bureau of Economic Research's Business Cycle Dating Committee. By the committee's methodology, the current recovery began in June 2009.


Real GDP is growing, but weakly compared with the postwar average recovery.

The recovery from the 1980 recession was even weaker at this stage, but that reflected a double-dip recession in 1981.

The economy would have to grow at a 7.6 percent annualized rate in order to catch up with the average postwar recovery by the end of 2012.

The consensus forecast for 2012 growth as reported by Bloomberg is 2.1 percent, up just slightly from a forecast of 2.0 percent as of last October.

Soft home prices have been central to the weakness of the recovery.

The continued weakness of nominal home prices is a postwar anomaly.

In every previous postwar recovery, the stock of household debt has risen as the recovery has begun.

In the current recovery, the collapse in home prices has severely damaged household balance sheets. As a result, consumers have avoided taking on new debt.

The result is weak consumer demand and, hence, a slow recovery.

The slow recovery is obvious in the labor market, where job growth remains painfully sluggish compared to the average recovery.

The recent uptick at the end of the Current Recovery linev(red) is the result of encouraging payroll data announced on January 6th 2012.

Because of the depth of the recent recession, one might expect stronger-than-average improvement in industrial production.

Despite the predicted snapback, the increase in industrial production during this recovery is actually slightly slower than in the average postwar case.

Capacity in manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities usually grows steadily from the start of a recovery.

However, during the current recovery, investment has been so low that capacity is actually declining. Plants and machinery are depreciating faster than they are being installed.

The growth in world trade exceeds even the best postwar experiences.

However, this reflects the depth of the fall during the recession.

The federal deficit since the start of the recovery has been much higher than in previous postwar cases.

Although the deficit has shrunk slightly, its level creates significant challenges for policymakers and the economy.

The traditional American enthusiasm for the road has been dulled by a combination of weak recovery and high fuel prices.

When compared to other postwar recessions, total vehicle miles traveled in this current recovery has not only lagged the average, but has registered no growth whatever.


All-in-all, not a pretty picture but given the incessant rally in stocks, we should all believe that a real recovery is right around the corner (or is it simply a fully priced-in QE-driven nominal recovery in equity prices as the real economy sags further?). As the following chart (courtesy of John Lohman) indicates, we have however got a little over-excited at the prospect of the above charts morphing into something real...

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Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:26 | 2089285 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Mine eyes!  Mine eyes!!

It's not true!  Tell me it's not true!

Obama....he promised!  He promised!

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:29 | 2089307 Fukushima Sam
Fukushima Sam's picture

Isn't it about retirement time for most of these CFR assholes?  It would be nice if they all went away to play golf or something and stop with the power games and leave the rest of us alone.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:32 | 2089318 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Their children are inhereting the thrones, and they are just as evil.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:54 | 2089414 johnu1978
johnu1978's picture

"UNRECOVERY" is the keyword, that much is for sure!!!



Mon, 01/23/2012 - 14:44 | 2089669 The Deleuzian
The Deleuzian's picture

Plenty of silver in Montana...I'm sure the Montanore project would add some jobs if they got around to it...

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 22:27 | 2091179 cjbosk
cjbosk's picture

John1978, thanks for the usless/worthless video, waste of 4 minutes of my life. 


Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:15 | 2177429 Delia39
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You have a great youtube channel ! thanks

sciatic nerve pain

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 14:31 | 2089588 Roy T
Roy T's picture


All this information is priced in, right?   :)

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 15:39 | 2089945 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

Perhaps it is priced in but the chart porn is quality for a Monday.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 14:23 | 2089544 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

QE to infinity is locked in. They have no choice!

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 16:08 | 2090063 Chief KnocAHoma
Chief KnocAHoma's picture

Bullish for real estate, unless you think it will remain negative forever.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 17:06 | 2090256 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

ie. japan

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:38 | 2089341 5880
5880's picture

Keep Hoping for Change

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:44 | 2089368 Red Raspberry
Red Raspberry's picture

Change is all I have left....

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:55 | 2089418 drink or die
drink or die's picture

In just 6 short months we get to look forward to Recovery Summer part 3!!!

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:26 | 2089286 diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture


Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:27 | 2089298 diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture

fuck it. i like to know where the (at least holographic) ballpark is


not daunting at all, we could turn the fucking titanic around if we had to people


should be a sobering gut punch - people are punch drunk on liquidity, like an unflegded boy (by design)

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:50 | 2089400 seek
seek's picture

The Titanic is already sinking, there is no turning it around, no matter how many people you have.

There is time, however, to load all the passengers onto 50 smaller, less-well-appointed ships and get them home safely, but we have an ass of a captain and hundreds of officers insisting everything is fine and they won't allow a single person off the ship, and a bunch of opportunistic frauds selling the passengers freshly printed tickets to safety back by nothing.


Mon, 01/23/2012 - 14:31 | 2089595 Silver Dreamer
Silver Dreamer's picture

"There's nothing to worry about.  Go back to your cabins!" will turn into locking people down below soon.  There will be no escape for the clueless.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:27 | 2089289 Johnny Yuma
Johnny Yuma's picture

Wow! What will CNBS say to this? 

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:31 | 2089311 diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture

Conspiracy Paranoia Porn for Doooomers?


its hard to refute cold, hard digital information though by citing nebulous "officials"


2k years and were right back at the son of Ariston:



Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:27 | 2089294 moroots
moroots's picture

Fuck the CFR

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:28 | 2089302 diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture

yes, fuck the CFR indeed old chap.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:30 | 2089313 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Funny how they tell the truth about the figures though, unlike the stats they give to the public.  You know why?  Because they have to tell you a little truth, that way the sheeple had a fighting chance.  This is how their power is derived; people should have known better, because the truth was out there.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:31 | 2089317 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

old chap? surely you mean the RIIA?

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:27 | 2089296 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Nothing a barrage of bullshit statistics can't fix...

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:30 | 2089308 zen0
zen0's picture

“It’s going to take a number of years before they get back to the U.S. that we used to know — in fact, they are not, in our opinion, ultimately going to get back to the U.S. that we used to know,” he said.

Governor of the Bank of Canada, Jan.22

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:34 | 2089321 yogibear
yogibear's picture

What recovery? I see college grads being hired for one salary and then paying them $5 less when hired. They don't get paid when if they don't have a customer.  No more guarantees about salaries/wages anymore. 

LOL, A number of college grads are working for nothing. Time to repeal labor laws and allow slavery in the US. The US can be competitive with Vietnam, China and Bangladesh if the US continues it's lower wage trend. 

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 14:58 | 2089741 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I'm confident there are plenty of grads out there working for nothing in the hopes of meeting the necessary hours/experience for their final credentialing/licensing...  just so they can look for a job proper...  it's not just about getting the degree any more, you also need experience to get quite a few various licenses.  (I strongly suspect the degree requirement will be replaced with experience, but this is just the first step, albeit a nightmare similar to biflation, whereby we get pulled at both ends).

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 23:29 | 2091316 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Let them work for nothing. The health insurance alone costs more than an employee in Asia. $800 a month for an employee with no health problems, and you can't refuse to hire someone WITH health problems (discrimination laws).

Wonder why employers are so reluctant to hire?

Tue, 01/24/2012 - 10:42 | 2092248 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

First, they don't work as employees...  they're independent contractors...  if they won't pay them for the labor, why would they take the time to mess with employee regulations?

Second, who in the fuck with no health problems is $800/mo to insure?  A stand alone policy for someone less than 35 in decent health is less than $350/mo. w/ blue cross blue shield...  tack on another 10% or so a month for dental and vision.  (if you actually go to their site, you'll probably find it for ~$200/mo.).  Where in the shit do you get $800/mo?


Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:33 | 2089327 ACP
ACP's picture

Hell, as long as the Bernank keeps ramping the market, charts and graphs and numbers and facts and stuff don't really matter.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:34 | 2089329 kralizec
kralizec's picture

You can kiss any chance of a recovery away, especially if ZH keeps having Obama Campaign Ad's!  WTF?!

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:39 | 2089348 AC_Doctor
AC_Doctor's picture

I don't think ZH has any input in the ads as long as they are not in bad taste.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:43 | 2089360 kralizec
kralizec's picture

No doubt, But I saw Obama's face, that's bad enough bad taste for me.  BTW, nice avatar!  He looks better in makeup.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:44 | 2089375 kralizec
kralizec's picture

Second thought, I like the ad's, pure waste of money, let's see more!

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:56 | 2089429 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

Hey, even ZH has to get some Obama money. Click those ads! :D

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 23:19 | 2091300 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Yo Conrad, how's the new state-provided digs working out?  :>D

Tue, 01/24/2012 - 14:38 | 2093287 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

Chillin chillin, just tryin to maintain you know. Send me some Ramen son

Sat, 03/03/2012 - 11:53 | 2219598 l.hauri
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this seems to be a good strategy. I am sure that if you will apply it you wil have excellent results. cosmetic dentistry houston

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:38 | 2089340 forexnovaco
forexnovaco's picture

always nice to look at the dow priced in gold to see how the economy performs in gold terms not in worthless fiat. Innovation and productivity are the way to prosperity not printing greetings from Ludwig Mises


Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:38 | 2089343 kralizec
kralizec's picture

Help is on its way -

Oh, sorry, meant more "BS" is on its way!  My bad!

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:41 | 2089352 poor fella
poor fella's picture

Anyone seen Bloomberg's advertisement for coverage of Davos?

The tag line is, "Our world, your money".  So perfect! Nobody here could say it better than that.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:50 | 2089397 AC_Doctor
AC_Doctor's picture

Yeah, a couple of GBU-27 5000# bunker buster's falling off the wing of an F-18 Super Hornet on top of these leeches would be fine for me!

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 14:09 | 2089479 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

I believe that is a typo.

It should read "Your world, our money".

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 19:29 | 2090730 poor fella
poor fella's picture

No, seriously, that's what the voiceover says - either way 'they' want all of something. If I was in their marketing dept., it should have read, "YOUR world, YOUR money" to make the soylent-carbon-debt-units feel more appeased to Their Plans.   %]  

Tue, 02/28/2012 - 10:30 | 2203634 l.hauri
l.hauri's picture

or you should check Timeshare for sale. I am sure that this link will help you!

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:41 | 2089356 Bansters-in-my-...
Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

This "Council on Foreign Relations" you speak of,they are a sack of elite scumbags are they not?

Why the fuck would you reference these sacks of shit,unless it was to show the dark side of that pretty title.???
Ps fuck you's Rockefellers.

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:59 | 2089435 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

Rockefeller, Morgan, and War -

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 13:46 | 2089381 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

There is no putting yourself on a level playing field with the likes of China and expecting wage growth. Soon, im afraid, minimum wage will be repealed.

Exactly how many people have to move to tent city before everyone realizes we're fucked?

"Real GDP is growing, but weakly compared with the postwar average recovery."

"Postwar" ?????  So we aren't engaged in anything now? It should be called "prewar" if anything.  Somehow I get the idea that Iran might get the attention of us homelanders more so than a once a month 15 second Iraq airing. 

1 million dead in Iraq from the country that's blowing up it's own buildings and fighing the good war on terror and it's already old news.

This can't end up anywhere good. 

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