The Economic Recovery: Is There An End in Sight?

The recession has been officially over for a year now, so when will we be back to normal? One way to look at it is to compare it to catching and recovering from a cold.
by | October 19, 2010 AT 6:00 PM

I'm pretty sure everyone has heard this news: The recession is officially over -- and has been over since June 2009. Anyone else finding this hard to believe?

Now, think about all the times you've caught a cold. For me, here's how it typically goes:

Usually before I officially became "sick," I feel a tingle in my throat. At that point, I'm usually in denial and ignorantly imagine waking up the next day without the tingle. Then, the next day, I wake up feeling as if my head was replaced with a 30-pound medicine ball. The other fun feelings of sickness join the medicine ball to party in my body for a bit. The party peaks, and then dies down. Then my body enters the recovery period.

Throughout most of the recovery process, you're just trying to make it back to square one (e.g. life without a pounding headache, economic stability, etc.). We, as a country, are now in a recovery period, where our economy bounces -- or sluggishly rolls -- back into the green. Facing the worst recession since the Great Depression, it's bound to take a while to make a comeback.

Here's the big question: How long will it take?

It took the country about a decade to recover from the Great Depression, even with the fourth-quarter boost from WWII. It's only been a little over a year since the end of the "Great Recession" and we still have about a $900 billion output gap to overcome. Our economy is indeed growing again, but at its current rate of growth, we will never again be in the green.

When I'm recovering from a bad cold, I pump my body with tons of food, orange juice and sleep. What do state and local governments need to pump themselves with to fuel an effective economic recovery?

Andy Kim
Andy Kim | Former Staff Writer