Worst recession since the depression?

Justin Lahart wrote this interesting piece in today’s online Wall Street Journal.  In the article he compares today’s recession with it’s post-war predecessors in terms of duration, wealth destruction, and job losses.  He argues that this is the worst we’ve seen since the depression.

Plus the article has a pretty cool illustration shown here:

Here’s a couple excerpts:

*Duration: “The nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research, which determines when the U.S. economy slips into recession, says the (current) downturn began in December 2007, 19 months ago. That makes it longer than the wrenching, 16-month recessions of 1973-75 and 1981-82.

*Job Losses: “The unemployment rate is approaching the peak seen in the 1981-82 recession and the scope of job losses is the worst since the 1948-49 recession.

*Wealth Destruction: “But this recession has eaten away at Americans’ wealth like never before. Falling home prices have decreased the equity the U.S. households have in their homes — that is, the value of their homes minus what they owe on them — by $5.1 trillion, a 41% drop. They also have lost trillions of dollars in the stock market. No other episode of wealth destruction since the 1930s comes close.”

I don’t mean to depress anyone I just thought it was a good comparison.