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Growth figures: Six years into a lost decade

A longer and longer search

“WELCOME to the recovery”, crowed the headline on a New York Times op-ed last August. Its author was Timothy Geithner, the treasury secretary. Mr Geithner hailed the government’s bold efforts to lift America’s economy out of recession and into a strengthening recovery. Even then, with growth uncertain and unemployment rising, he seemed too bullish. Now things look much worse. A new trove of GDP data reveals America’s recession to be much deeper than previously understood, and the recovery much more tenuous.America’s economy shambled forward at a 1.3% annual pace in the three months to June, according to a preliminary estimate of growth. But that wretched statistic passed for good news compared with the rest of the report. Activity quickened from a miserable first quarter in which the economy flirted with a return to recession, growing by only 0.4% at an annual rate. For the year to June, the second full year of the recovery, it grew by just 1.6%. Over the same period after the 1982 recession, the economy leapt forward by 5.6%.The rough news did not end there….

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