A Recession is Declared at Last

            The announcement by the National Bureau of Economic Research declaring that a recession began in December 2007 did not surprise many people.  Many economists, including Moody’s Economy.com Chief Economist Mark Zandi, have suggested this for much of the year, and certainly many Americans have long sensed this reality, as well.  Especially in light of the extremely active involvement of the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Board over the past few months, I suspect that there are not many Americans who are unaware of the U.S.’s (and much of the world’s) economic problems.

            Indeed, I have long argued that the level of pessimism in the economy reflects a public that is extremely anxious about the future (to put it mildly).  This is borne out by record-low consumer confidence and sub-par poll readings from small business owners from the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Association for the Self-Employed, and others.

            None of this news is new.  I have discussed ways for small businesses to better weather the economic downturn,” and I have written about the challenges of small business owners on a regular basis this year in my Quarterly Indicators.  Next up: when will our current recession end?  At a speech at the National Economists Club (NEC) in September, Mark Zandi predicted that the U.S. economy would pick up steam in the second half of 2009; that, of course, was just at the beginning of the financial meltdown, and he might have altered his view since then.  We will have to see.

— Chad Moutray, Chief Economist