Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW

A recession? Let’s try our new checklist

Kai Ryssdal Aug 1, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY

A recession? Let’s try our new checklist

Kai Ryssdal Aug 1, 2008
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: Welcome to the inaugural Marketplace Recession Checklist. A handy list of things to look for as you try to figure out whether we’re in one or not.

ITEM 1: The Housing Market

RYSSDAL: New home sales are down. Used home sales are down. Construction companies, home supply stores, they’re all down. Prices are down. So, yes, as far as the housing sector is concerned, it’s recession.

ITEM 2: Unemployment

RYSSDAL: There are two numbers to look at with unemployment: The rate, which we learned today has hit 5.7 percent, a four-year high. And, the number of jobs in the economy — down 51,000 last month, the seventh-consecutive month of declines. A recession indicator? Probably.

ITEM 3: Consumer spending

RYSSDAL: This one’s actually closely tied to the jobs number and the wages we get for having a job. They’re not really keeping up with inflation. Although, spending was reasonably solid last quarter — thanks mostly to the tax-rebate checks — so let’s put this one in the toss-up column.

ITEM 4: Gross domestic product

RYSSDAL: The classic definition of recession is two straight quarters of a shrinking GDP, even though noboby goes by that anymore. Still, we’ve only had one quarter of negative economic growth, so by that very academic measurement — nope, not a recession.

There are a million more things we could’ve thrown on that list but, hey, the show only lasts half an hour.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.