NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Economic Recovery Is Weakest since World War II

August 20, 2012

America is slowly recovering from a hard-hitting recession that ended three years ago. Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by recoveries that lasted at least three years. However, the current economic recovery has been the slowest compared to all the other cases of post-recession growth. In fact, economic growth has never been weaker in postwar recovery, consumer spending has been slack and only once has job growth been slower, says the Associated Press.

The data show just how feeble growth has been since the end of the recession.

  • America's gross domestic product grew 6.8 percent in the first three years after a postwar economy, compared to 15.5 percent in the eight other cases analyzed.
  • Investment in housing, which grew an average of 34 percent in other cases of postwar recovery, has only grown 8 percent in the past three years.

The poor growth has also directly affected consumers and job-seekers.

  • Consumer spending has grown 6.5 percent three years into recovery compared to the average growth of 14 percent in other instances of postwar recovery.
  • Additionally, the current economy has created about 4 million jobs -- about 46 percent of jobs lost due to the recession. In the previous eight recoveries, the economy gained an average of 350 percent of jobs lost.
  • Wages have also fallen 0.8 percent in this recovery compared to the average 1.5 percent increase in previous cases.
  • The money Americans earn from interest payments fell from $1.4 trillion in 2008 to $1 trillion last year, a drop of 27 percent.

Source: Paul Wiseman, "Economic Recovery Is Weakest since World War II," Associated Press, August 15, 2012.


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