The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that our economy might be growing again–for the first time since the second quarter of 2008–and hence that we might be out of this recession. “Might” because it’s just their first (”advance”) estimate (the next update will come out late November), and “might” because the NBER business cycle dating committee won’t officially declare an end to the recession until well after it’s ended. Nevertheless, I must give kudos to Mark Zandi of Economy.com for having predicted back in the spring that the recession would end sometime in October; here’s an interview he gave on NPR’s Marketplace today.
Of course, even if the NBER eventually verifies that, yes, the recession is now over, it’s too early to “celebrate.” The economy recovering “in aggregate” doesn’t at all imply that the typical American family’s economic picture has brightened–particularly because the labor market is always the slowest to recover. And I’m still not sure the good news on the auto industry is really good news, because the Cash for Clunkers effect could be mostly temporary–see this by Dean Baker. (Although as a sister to a Ford engineer, I’m really happy about the really positive news on the reliability of Ford vehicles that came out this week. Is it coincidence that they were the only company of Detroit’s Big Three that didn’t take a government bailout? I think not…)