The Corner

The Recession is Over?

My AEI colleague Mark Perry reports:

The U.S. economy reached a milestone in the fourth quarter of 2010 when $13.38 trillion (2005 dollars) worth of real gross domestic product was produced, the highest quarterly output ever recorded—surpassing the previous record of $13.36 trillion of GDP produced in the fourth quarter of 2007, when the recession started. Measured by the total amount of goods and services produced in the United States, the economy has now made a full and complete recovery from the Great Recession and real GDP is slightly above, by 0.14 percent, its pre-recession level (see chart below).

He then adds:


What’s even more striking though is that the U.S. economy was able to produce $13.38 trillion of real output last quarter with only 139 million employees, compared to the more than 146 million Americans who were working in the fourth quarter of 2007 to produce slightly less output, as AEI’s Alex Pollock recently observed. The chart above shows that real output in the United States is now 0.14 percent higher than three years ago, but is being produced with almost 5 percent, or 7.2 million, fewer workers!

One benefit of the long and painful recession is that companies and organizations have figured out how to become more efficient and “do more with less,” and that is reflected in the fact that GDP per U.S. worker went from $91,365 (in 2005 dollars) in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $96,231 in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase in worker productivity of 5.32 percent. Perhaps those impressive gains in labor productivity over the last several years help explain why we are now experiencing a “jobless recovery” with a stubbornly high unemployment rate—companies have been able to expand output without hiring very many, if any, additional workers.

Most Popular

National Security & Defense

Leave McMaster Be

About every two months, there are rumors that Gen. H. R. McMaster might be let go as Trump’s national-security adviser (along with many other stellar appointees). The world, however, is a much more logical and predictable place than it was 14 months ago. We’ve restored ties to the Gulf monarchies; Israel ... Read More
Economy & Business

What Kudlow Got Right in 2007

Lawrence Kudlow’s appointment to be director of the National Economic Council has brought out the critics, who have combed through his copious writings to find every wrong call he has made over the decades. One passage that has come in for some ridicule, though, doesn’t deserve it. Here’s Kudlow, writing ... Read More
Film & TV

Love, Simon Outs Hollywood’s Youth Exploitation

Simon (Nick Robinson), the 17-year-old white gay high-school student in Love, Simon, appears to be a comic version of the protagonist in Moonlight. Rather than blatantly copy that Oscar-winning black-gay-victim film, Love, Simon remakes the pathetic Moonlight in the more marketable guise of a sitcom about a ... Read More

Don’t Bork Gina Haspel

President Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director is about to experience a good Borking. No one doubts her professionalism, and she’s been endorsed by Obama intelligence officials. Yet Gina Haspel’s long career at the agency, including extensive work undercover in the field, is getting blotted out by her ... Read More

On the Virtues of Agreeing to Disagree

In the Washington Post, Chuck Lane makes a thoughtful case for reframing the aims of public discourse: “National unity may be beyond our reach; national cohesion is not.” To achieve this cohesion, Lane suggests that we should lower the stakes of contemporary political debates by trying to find compromise ... Read More