Thursday, August 28, 2008

No recession? Strong U.S. growth tops estimates

It is conventional wisdom today that all of the United States of America, including California, are in a recession. However, as is often the case, the conventional wisdom appears to be incorrect:

A recession is typically defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, but the just-released second quarter 2008 U.S. economic growth rate numbers show a healthy growth rate of 3.3%, akin to the average rate of growth in the Reagan and Clinton administration "boom" years, and topping estimates of 1.9% (which accounted for the economic stimulus rebate checks). Q1 2008's growth rate was weak but positive, and Q4 2007 was recorded at negative 0.2% (-0.2%).

The U.S. Labor Department also reported a decrease in new unemployment claims numbers.

Arguably, one upshot of these figures is that those who believe now is not a good time to start or expand a business may not be correct.

See also UCLA forecast sees no California recession, San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2008:
[T]he UCLA Anderson Forecast predict that damage from the collapse of housing will be contained and that the state's feeble economy will avoid a headlong dive into negative territory.

Real estate weakness will remain a significant drag on the economy, leaving us treading water in 2008, but not slipping under the waves into recession," the report concludes.
December 2008 Update: An official U.S. recession was announced, with its effective start being named as December 2007.

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