USC expert: Current economic recovery would be longest since WWII if it extends through '19

BY BRUCE MILLS bruce@theitem.com
Posted 1/23/19

During the painful Great Recession of 2008 and '09, many of us "Average Joes" couldn't help but learn the actual definition of a recession: when the U.S. economy has at least two consecutive quarters of negative Gross Domestic Product - or GDP - …

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USC expert: Current economic recovery would be longest since WWII if it extends through '19

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During the painful Great Recession of 2008 and '09, many of us "Average Joes" couldn't help but learn the actual definition of a recession: when the U.S. economy has at least two consecutive quarters of negative Gross Domestic Product - or GDP - growth.

The U.S. hasn't experienced that since the middle of 2009, and currently we are in the 10th year of an economic "expansion," which dates back to June 2009, according to University of South Carolina research economist Joey Von Nessen.

"An expansion is just an economic cycle where we are seeing relatively steady positive economic growth," Von Nessen said, "and it's a direct contrast to a recession."

Since the Great Recession ended, the U.S. economy has had quarters of negative GDP growth - but never consecutive quarters, he said.

One noteworthy item: If the current U.S. expansion extends through 2019, it will be the longest economic expansion on record since World War II, Von Nessen said.

Close observers describe this recovery as "slow but steady."

In its 10th year, this expansion actually exceeds an expansion period from 1961 to '69, an era of big government spending under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, CNN noted.

Unlike the "breathtaking growth of the 1960s," the current expansion hasn't set any records for speed, CNN said. Many know after the recession of the late 2000s, it took a long time for unemployment to get back to healthy levels. Wages have only last year begun to increase meaningfully.

Yet, the very fact that the economy didn't roar back to life from the Great Recession likely extended the life of the recovery. The slow speed prevented the economy from overheating, according to Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.

"The silver lining with this very long economic expansion is we didn't experience the same boom-to-bust cycle that we had in the past," Zandi told CNN.