Well, Is It Or Isn’t It?

This is, you've heard, "the worst recession since the early 1980s," or perhaps "the worst recession since the Great Depression." There are lots of ways to measure a bad economy, but the graph above is how we're doing, so far, compared to the 10 recessions since World War II in terms of unemployment and..

This is, you've heard,re•ces•sion |ri'se sh ?n|A recession is most simply defined as two consecutive yearly quarters of reduction in GDP. In the United States, a think tank called the National Bureau of Economic Research determines, after the fact, whether or not we are in a•pres•sion |de'pre sh ?n|There is no official definition, but general consensus requires GDP to decline by 10 percent or more, and the economic slump to last three or more years. Suffice it to say, we aren't there yet.

Recessions might feel all doomy and gloomy, but they're also times of great innovation. All of the following wondrous things were created, perfected, or completed during recessions or depressions: the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower, the U.S.A. trilogy by John Dos Passos, Social Security, Scotch tape, the Polaroid Corporation, FM radio, the modem, New Wave music, MS-DOS, the iPod, and the artificial heart.