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We're back to where we were

By one economic measure, the economy has finally recovered — what was lost, by that measure, has been regained. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains.

“Well, this measure is gross domestic product. … People may have heard this in news reports. It is a common measure. It is really a very broad measure of the economy. It tells us the value of everything we produce in the economy — from manufacturers to service people to farms. Or another way of looking at it is the income that we generate. We do adjust it over time for inflation.

“Typically GDP — gross domestic product, shorten it to GDP — falls during recessions. And in fact that is the main  … way that we measure recession. And we went from a GDP of $13.4 trillion down to $12.8 trillion at the bottom of the recession.

“The good news, though, is that now we are back. GDP has actually been rising since the middle of 2009, and we have recovered. We are now back to the $13.4 trillion that we had before the recession.

“So that is reason to celebrate. However, it doesn’t mean everything is fine. Obviously the glaring omission in the economy right now is jobs. We are nowhere near recovering the jobs we lost during the recession.”