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Is the Recession Really Over? 8 Unusual Indicators.

by on
in The Wrong Question

Is the recession really over?  It sounds like a question worth asking.  However, Fed Chairman Bernanke told a conference at the Brookings Institution on September 15th that "From a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over at this point, but it's still going to feel like a very weak economy for some time."

So, maybe a better question should focus on what “technical perspective” really means?  Mr. Bernanke acknowledging that economic forecasting "is not one of your most precise sciences," and then said most forecasters think economic growth in 2010 will be moderate because of "ongoing headwinds," including financial and credit problems, sectoral adjustments in the economy, the desire of families to pay off debt and the need for the federal government to restrain spending.

So, perhaps even a better question would revolve around “economic indicators” that we can plainly see and will prove this recession is over from a practical, not technical, perspective.

Here are my thoughts…


Starbucks has done a very good job holding their prices, now if we begin to see lines form that will be a sign the recession is coming to a close.  I met a friend yesterday at 3:45 and there were 7 people in line before us.


Morton’s has been sending $99 coupons for a great meal for two.  I’ve received two in the past year (used one).  When those stop showing up in my mailbox that will be an indicator.

I never know how to react to a contractor who returns phone calls and shows up on time.  It is surprising, refreshing and concerning all at the same time.  When we start getting overcharged for poorly service, we’ll know the recession is over.


My donut eating friends think Dunkin’s has been cutting back on the crème in their Boston Crème donuts…Is nothing sacred when times are tough?

Excited, hostile crowds waiting in the dark the day after Thanksgiving will be a strong indicator...


If every seat if full on your next flight, particularly over the holidays, we’ll be on our way.


Believe it or not, cardboard boxes are an indicator.  Most things you purchase or use are put into a cardboard box.  Mr Greenspan use boxes as one of his favorite leading indicators.


I know there are other visual indicators the worst recession in a generation is finally over.  I've offered 7 here... What are the most unusual indicators you see?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

loansafe April 7, 2010 at 7:16 pm

The recession is even close to over! The recession is just the beginning of a second great depression. Look at all the evidence, still millions of teenagers who cant get jobs because of the millions of adults who are working those McDonald’s jobs. We’ve barely seen the beginning.

Reply

Phil September 23, 2009 at 6:10 am

In the business world, conference attendance is always a key indicator. Right now those budgets (along with travel and meals) are still pretty thin. But there seems to be a slight uptrend.

Reply

jds September 18, 2009 at 7:05 pm

“billboard indicator”-when I see “this billboard available” or “advertise here”, ubiquitously-it shows that advertising is still weak because consumer spending has been so weak

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