he U.S. economy started growing again in the third quarter. GDP rose at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the quarter, which was more than expected. But nearly 6 million Americans remain out of work. Is the recession over, or is the worst yet to come?
The recession's over—but the recovery won't be quick: The economy's growing, says Paul Mirengoff in Power Line, so "the recession is over." It was a bad one, though, and employment will bounce back slowly because it's a lagging indicator of economic health. But stimulus spending should soon start easing some of the unemployment pain.
"It's official, the 'jobless recovery' has commenced"
Maybe the recession's over, but it's the jobs that matter: It's pointless to talk about the end of the recession, says Justin Fox in Time, until there are signs that the recovery has begun. "You can't eat GDP, or pay your mortgage with it." So until the jobs come back, there's nothing to celebrate.
"What 3.5 percent GDP growth means"
The 3.5 percent figure is a mirage: Yes, GDP grew by 3.5 percent over the last three months, say Vincent Fernando and Kamelia Angelova in The Business Insider, but the numbers were severely distorted by the cash-for-clunkers program. Many people who had planned to buy a car at the end of the year made their purchases earlier to take advantage of cash for clunkers. Next quarter auto output will pull the economy down instead of boosting it—"watch out for the cliff."
"Cash-For-Clunkers MASSIVELY distorted GDP"
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