Despite what you may hear in the media, we are still not in a recession. I've heard reporters suggest that we should ignore the actual definition of "recession" and say we're in one anyway. I suppose that sort of intellectual dishonesty gets more viewers... But the truth is that economic indicators show that the American economy grew at a rate of 0.6% in the first quarter of 2008. That's not stellar by any stretch of the imagination, but our economy is not retracting, plain and simple.
Here's the thing: I'm not suggesting that everything is just peachy with our economy. There are problems with prices and I do see some people losing jobs. But I also know that lots of people are getting new jobs and there are lots of people shopping and eating out. While our economy isn't growing as fast has it had been for a few years, it is still growing!!!!
I know it sells more papers and creates more television viewers if we can spice things up and ignore the real economic indicators. Americans want to believe we're in a recession and even headed for a depression. I don't get that mentality... I don't understand why people are adamant that we should say our economy is tanking when it's really not. And of course, there are those who say we should throw out the economic indicators all together because they're not valid measures. I disagree.
Yes, consumers are having to adjust their spending in many ways. But we're still doing well and we're not in a recession. Plan for the worst, but don't keep talking about it like it's already here. The American economy is growing, and for that we should be thankful.
Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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