The XX Factor

Recession Briefing 7.27

The economic downturn is taking a central role in the local debate in Chicago over the city’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. ( New York Times )

A group of eminent British economists has written to the Queen of England explaining why no one foresaw the timing, extent and severity of the recession, and apologizing for their “failure of collective imagination.” ( Guardian )

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Sunday said he engineered the central bank’s controversial actions over the past year because “I was not going to be the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression.” ( Wall Street Journal )

More than 18.7 million homes stood empty in the U.S. during the second quarter as the steepest recession in 50 years sapped demand for real estate and banks seized properties from delinquent borrowers. ( Bloomberg )

Recent readings across many of the world’s biggest economies, including the United States, China, Japan, Britain and Canada, suggest the global recession is petering out. What is missing is a catalyst for a sturdy, sustainable recovery . ( Reuters )

The economy is forcing some companies to cut back on a staple of summer - blood drives. ( Associated Press via Chiacgo Tribune )

California had 14,570 fewer births in 2008 than in the previous year, a 2.6 percent drop that surprised demographers with its size. It was the first annual decline in births since 2001, when the state was last mired in a recession. ( San Jose Mercury News )

Sales have all but dried up for many art dealers in L.A., and quite a few galleries have closed and others have downsized. But solidly established dealers are soldiering on with tightened belts, and a surprising number of galleries are growing . ( Los Angeles Times )

Garage sale postings on Craigslist rose 200% in the past two years, while traffic to, a portal for potential sellers and bargain hunters, is up 16% from last year. ( USA Today )

A non-profit has extended its services to provide affordable, professional clothing for the unemployed. ( SF Weekly )