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Breaking News: The Recession has been over since June 2009 (who knew?)


The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research) formally announced today that the U.S. recession that started December 2007, actually ended on June 2009.

And that

The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months.

According to the actual report from the NBER site

the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion.

As of Friday, 124 U.S. banks have failed, unemployment rate (as of August 2010) is 9.6%, foreclosures are at an all time high, and here’s a fun fact – ‘U.S. poverty rate hits highest level since 1994’.  Is it just me, or does this breaking news not really mean anything at all?

This is how the NBER defines recession:

It’s more accurate to say that a recession—the way we use the word—is a period of diminishing activity rather than diminished activity. We identify a month when the economy reached a peak of activity and a later month when the economy reached a trough. The time in between is a recession, a period when economic activity is contracting. The following period is an expansion. As of September 2010, when we decided that a trough had occurred in June 2009, the economy was still weak, with lingering high unemployment, but had expanded considerably from its trough 15 months earlier.

So I guess it’s too early to say that we’re in the clear, but it’s possibly on the up?  No double-dip…hopefully.

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Filed under: Business, Finance, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The more you bank a year does not mean you’re necessarily happier…


…richer, maybe, but not happier.

According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (right, I looked it up… founded in 1914, the PNAS reports on biological, physical, and social sciences),

Beyond household income of $75,000 a year, money “does nothing for happiness, enjoyment, sadness or stress”.

The data was comprised from a sample of 450,000 randomly selected Americans.  While the study found that the individuals’ self assessment of their own lives was strongly correlated to higher salaries, their day-to-day happiness was not equally affected.

“Many people want to make a lot of money, but the benefits of having a high income are ambiguous,” said Professor Kahneman, who is also a Nobel laureate in economics. When you are wealthy you are able to buy more pleasures, he said, but a recent study suggests that wealthier people “seem to be less able to savor the small things in life.”

What is the moral of the story?

In the end, people should pursue what they’re interested in, said Daniel H. Pink, author.

We’re taught that money-makes-the-world-go-round… and to save money for when we’ve retired,… While I understand that the researchers are trying to say that money doesn’t buy happiness, I actually would like to add a personal addendum… it certainly helps.

Filed under: Business, Finance, Random, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bernanke vs Geithner, which version do you like better?


I was reading about the state of the economy yesterday, and came across two conflicting news articles.

The first article I read had Ben Bernanke (Fed Reserve Chairman) saying that things are not all well yet – “including the high rate of unemployment…” and then in another article Timothy Geithner (US Secretary of Treasury) says that the economy “is showing signs that companies are starting to hire more workers as the recovery strengthens.”

I should note that Bernie’s article was posted at 11:15am EST and Timmy’s at 5:01pm EST…maybe in the span of 6 or so hours, the economy starting showing positive signs?

Filed under: Business, Finance, Politics, , , , , ,

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