Comparing Recessions

It you look at job losses in this recession compared to previous recessions this recession looks very bad but the labor force is much bigger today than in previous recessions.  Thus, if you look at the percentage change in employment you get a different story.  The Minneapolis Fed crunches the numbers:


Of course, this recession is not yet over but this is useful information.  We might not like it but recessions are normal.

Important Addendum: The Fed defines Mildest, Median, Harshest by taking the Mildest employment drop of any recession in that quarter and plotting that.  Thus, the Mildest, Median, and Harshest recessions are Frankenstein recessions, cobbled together from other recessions. I do not think this is a good way to express the data.  See this update for a better method.


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