Peter Ferrara

This latest recession started in December, 2007. Since the Great Depression 75 years ago, recessions in America have lasted an average of 10 months, with the longest previously lasting 16 months, not counting this latest spooky downturn.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, the recognized scorekeeper of when recessions start and end, declared this latest recession over in June, 2009, which would make it the longest recession since the Great Depression. But the historical precedent in America is the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery, as the American economy accelerates to return to its long term trendline. Based on that precedent, we should be in the third year of a raging recovery boom by now. But instead we have suffered the worst economic recovery from a recession since the Great Depression.

Unemployment actually rose after June, 2009, and did not fall back down below that level until 18 months later in December, 2010. Instead of a recovery, America has suffered the longest period of unemployment above 8% since the Great Depression, under President Obama's public policy malpractice. Even last month, 52 months after the recession started, while supposedly 115,000 new jobs were created, the labor force shrank by another 342,000 workers, which is the only reason the unemployment rate reportedly declined from 8.2% to 8.1%. Without the decline in the labor force, unemployment would have risen last month to 8.3%.

The labor force is actually 365,000 workers smaller today than it was in June, 2009 when the recession supposedly ended. Counting population growth since then, the economy is actually missing 7.7 million workers that would be in the work force if the labor force participation rate had remained the same since the supposed end of the recession three years ago.

As Investor's Business Daily reported on May 7, "That's in stark contrast to every other post-World War II expansion, which saw the labor force climb by the millions at this point in their recoveries, even as unemployment rates were driven down." Indeed, if labor force participation had stayed the same as it was when the recession supposedly ended in June, 2009, the unemployment rate would be 11%, as Investor's Business Daily also reported on May 7. That is a more realistic number because those millions of workers missing from the work force still exist and still do not have jobs.


Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is General Counsel for the American Civil Rights Union, a Senior Fellow at the Carleson Center for Public Policy and a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.