We now have enough information available to reach some conclusions about how bad the recession has been, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden. And compared to other recent recessions, the latest has been brutal in terms of job losses.
“And, of course, job losses probably are the biggest component in terms of how most people valuate a recession. And if we look at them, I mean this recession has just been ugly. No other word describes it.
“If we measure job losses from the peak of the job market before the recession to the low point of the job market, at the bottom of the recession during this recession we lost 6 percent of all jobs. That is a big number. In fact it is twice as big as the previous worst recession, when we lost 3 percent. You have to go all the way back to 1948, the recession of 1948, to be close — when we lost 5 percent of our jobs.
“And you have to go back to the granddaddy of them all — the Great Depression from 1929 to 1932 — to find a bigger relative job loss than the 6 percent we lost during this recession.
“So if you want to know why people are still feeling bad, you want to know why there has been so much carnage related to this recession, just look at that number — 6 percent — of the jobs gone. That really tells you the story.”