Top 12 terrible signs that the recession isn't actually over

NBER recently announced that the recession ended in June, 2009. Here are 12 counter-arguments.

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    Alan Blinder, director of Princeton University's Center for Economic Policy Studies, joins Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke for a question and answer session after Chairman Bernanke's lecture at Princeton University on Sept. 24, in Princeton, N.J. The economy is recovering from its deep recession more slowly than anticipated, Bernanke acknowledged.
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This week, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) asserted the US has been out of recession since June 2009 despite the fact that, in its own words, the economy has not “returned to operating at normal capacity.” Given this statement, and the slew of other caveats offered alongside the verdict, it hardly seems worth the NBER’s effort to release the lukewarm statement.

Today, the Economic Collapse Blog, playing the role of properly investigative skeptic, dug up 12 terrible data points that suggest the NBER should have probably arrived at a less rosy-sounding conclusion:

#1 The Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in 51 years of record-keeping.

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#2 In the year 2000, 11.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty. In 2008, 13.2 percent of Americans were living in poverty. In 2009, 14.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty. Needless to say the trend is moving in the wrong direction.

#3 In 2009 alone, approximately 4 million more Americans joined the ranks of the poor.

#4 According to the Associated Press, experts believe that 2009 saw the largest single year increase in the U.S. poverty rate since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.

#5 The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

#6 Today the United States has approximately 4 million fewer wage earners than it did in 2007.

#7 Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it in 2007.

#8 U.S. banks repossessed 25 percent more homes in August 2010 than they did in August 2009.

#9 One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

#10 There are now 50.7 million Americans who do not have health insurance. One trip to the emergency room would be all it would take to bankrupt a significant percentage of them.

#11 More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.

#12 There are now over 41 million Americans on food stamps.

The economy has indeed expanded since the low point marked by the NBER. However, as Addison Wiggin points out, the growth was driven almost entirely by government spending and increasing transfer payments… remedies that have a short life span and are already out of stock.

You can read the full coverage, including eight more data points, in the Economic Collapse Blog’s post on 20 signs the economic collapse has already begun for one out of every seven Americans.

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