The XX Factor

Recession Briefing 9.1

I think it’s kind of an exciting time,” says actress Natalie Portman of the recession. All of a sudden, people are doing jobs that they hate and they’re not making as much money as they thought they would or they’ve lost their jobs entirely. I’ve started to see people looking more toward their own passions and what really excites them.” ( Heeb )

Contrary to the common assumption that the stress of dealing with a recession is bad for your health, studies of population trends in developed economies have revealed that during economic downturns, mortality rates decline rather than increase. ( Time )

PennyMac, a firm founded by the former president and COO of Countrywide - which is blamed for some of the loans which triggered the financial crisis - now stands to receive up to $6.2 million in taxpayer money to modify distressed home loans. ( ProPublica )

“Day after day, economists, politicians and journalists repeat the trope that the current recession is the worst since the Great Depression,” writes Allan Meltzer. “Repetition may reinforce belief, but the comparison is greatly overstated and highly misleading.” ( Wall Street Journal )

City finance officers say the picture remains bleak for city governments. This is chiefly because a top source of municipal income - property tax revenue - tends to lag behind changes in the market. ( CNN )

Six months into President Obama’s Making Home Affordable Program, only 6 percent of the 4 million eligible homeowners have gotten help. A lot more say they’ve been frustrated with the runaround they’ve been getting from lenders. ( CNN )

The U.S. economy does not need a second fiscal stimulus package, instead the government should cut spending over the next two years , according to a survey of business economists released on Monday. ( Reuters )

The emerging economic recovery suffers from a great contradiction: Even as factories seem to be cranking out more stuff, the job market remains terrible. ( Washington Post )

The global recession will increase infant and child deaths and cause more students to drop out of school in Africa, the U.N. children’s agency predicted Monday. ( Associated Press )

The newly elected Japanese government is creating a special position for a minister in charge of overseeing the post-recession economic recovery. ( Associated Press )