Not even close to the severity of the Great Depression. Unemployment during the Depression peaked at 25%, as opposed to 8.5% during the recession. Also close to 50% of the banks in the country failed during the Depression. We saw something like 0.5% of banks fail in 2008. But probably the most indicative number is overall economic decline – 25% decrease in economic growth during Depression era, we had an 0.5 increase in overall economic activity in the country between Dec 2007 and May 2009.
Part of the reason this recession does not seem as bad as the Great Depression (getwithrico is right, it’s not as severe) is because of technology and how spoiled America has become. We don’t see soup lines and people looking as destitute as they did during the Great Depression which makes us think it is not as bad. One has to consider the population change as well. The population of the United States has grown over 200% since the Depression. So 8.5% of our current population is actually almost the same amount of people without jobs as the 25% unemployed in the 30’s. Also, the US has spent A LOT more money trying to get out of this recession than in 1933. During the Great Depression, taxes were raised and spending was cut- which eventually worked. Our government just started pumping money into failing companies, many of which failed anyways and continued the economic downfall.
To say that its not even close in severity is a bit of a stretch. This recession may not sport the statistics that the Depression did, but the effects will last for many years and truly have a lasting negative impact on our country.
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