The XX Factor

Recession Briefing 9.29

Living through a recession or economic downturn may be good for your health , a study on life during the Great Depression has claimed. ( Telegraph )

Job seekers now outnumber openings six to one, the worst ratio since the government began tracking open positions in 2000. Only 2.4 million full-time permanent jobs were open in July, with 14.5 million people officially unemployed. ( New York Times )

The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs ravaged household budgets. ( Associated Press )

This recession is taking a particularly heavy toll on business creation , as sources of small-business funding dry up and would-be entrepreneurs become more risk-averse. ( Wall Street Journal )

The Obama administration is close to rolling out two initiatives aimed at addressing lingering problems from the financial crisis : A long-delayed effort to cleanse financial firms of their toxic assets, and a $35 billion plan to prop up state programs that help lower-income borrowers get affordable mortgages. ( Washington Post )

Some economists are heartened by an obscure measure of buyer sentiment: recreational vehicle sales. RV wholesale shipments jumped 16% in August from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 209,800. That’s a 136% surge from January. ( USA Today )

Organized religion was already in trouble before the fall of 2008. Denominations were stagnating or shrinking, and congregations across faith groups were fretting about their finances. The Great Recession made things worse. ( Associated Press )

“The end of the recession seems so close that you can almost smell it,” writes Geoff Colvin. “Yet this is exactly the wrong moment to let up on the mean and lean strategies you’ve adopted.” ( Washington Post )

For a quintet of small businesses that The New York Times has been tracking for the past year, the persistent recession has hurt some more than others. As fall began, some cautious optimism about a recovery crept into recent interviews. ( New York Times )

One economist who believes a “double dip recession” is a real danger is Martin Feldstein, professor at Harvard University. He notes that the current economic upturn is being “force fed” by government stimulus and not driven by the usual business cycle in which growth begets more growth. ( CNBC )