How come it doesn’t feel like the “recession is over”?

There was quite a stir two days ago when The National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the recession is over. Have a look at two paragraphs from their press release (taken from their website):  

“The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months.

In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.”

I get what the National Bureau of Economic Research is saying, but let’s take a look at unemployment rates. When the recession began in December 2007 according to the NBER, the unemployment rate in Sacramento County was 5.7%, and when the recession “ended” in June 2009, the unemployment rate was 11.5%. As of August 2010, the unemployment rate in Sacramento County is 12.8%.

What do you make of the news that the “recession is over”?

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