Happy Fifth Anniversary, Great Recession!

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Happy Fifth Anniversary, Great Recession!On the surface, December is a great month. It's filled with holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and a host of other special occasions. The 22nd is the winter solstice, the day when the Earth's natural calendar turns and days start getting longer, and the 31st is the night when the old year ends and a new one begins.

But for all its holidays and festivals, turning points and celebrations, December also has its fair share of grim anniversaries. The 7th, after all, remains a "day that shall live in infamy," and the 2nd is the day that Enron filed for bankruptcy. On the 11th, Bernie Madoff was arrested, and on the 14th, President George W. Bush was hit by a tossed shoe in Iraq.

Five years ago, December added another infamous event to its collection: According to the National Bureau of Economic Records, December 2007 is the when the U.S. economy peaked and the Great Recession began. That month, unemployment crept up to 4.9%, beginning a slow climb that would gather speed in 2008 before reaching its height in late 2009.

Three months after December 2007, the famed Bear Stearns bailout hinted at the Wall Street mayhem that was in the works. Of course, by then, the rise in unemployment was hard to miss: In February, employers cut 63,000 jobs, a five-year high. Over the ensuing months, those numbers would continue to rise as the jobless rate eventually topped 10%.

Five years later, the economy still hasn't recovered. Unemployment hovers just below 8% -- an improvement over the worst days of the recession, but far from its pre-2007 levels. The number of underemployed workers is still high. And while the recession has officially ended, the effects it had on the middle class remain, in particular what many analysts have characterized as an unprecedented loss of wealth.

At the same time, the Great Recession also led to an explosion in the deficit, as the federal government tried to keep the financial collapses of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers from rippling across the economy. Today, with the deficit at its highest level in history and a fight over austerity measures, taxes, and the debt ceiling brewing, the nation's modest recovery is at risk.

Among the possible results of the political grudge match now under way in Washington is that the next five years could look like a rerun of the last five. Perhaps next December, we'll be able to look back on this fifth anniversary of the Great Recession as having preceded a year in which the economy finally improved enough to revive America's optimism ... or perhaps we'll be remembering it as brief respite before the economy once again tumbled over a cliff.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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Sabot

It is a celebration I would rather not be seeing! We are stuck in neutral and the radicals on both ends of the political rope are pulling in opposite directions while the clown car full of moderates is sinking deeper into the mud! It is however, first class situation though, butter than Nixon and the gas problems and inflation and low wages of the 70's, after LBJ's non funded "Guns and butter" war too!

I am 70 and am glad that I will soon not be a part of this drab and dreary landscape of warring radical animals feeding on the sheeple of my country!

December 04 2012 at 1:53 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
yearsocrapleft

AMERICAS ON THE WHOO~~WHOOOOO..WRONG TRACK , WERE STILL IN THE MUSLIM CLOWNS "GREAT RECESSION TODAY HEADING INTO DEPRESSION. ! ~~CUT THE MUSLIM CLOWNS "OUT OF CONTROL SPENDING NOW" OR "SHUT THE COUNTRY DOWN"

December 03 2012 at 11:25 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to yearsocrapleft's comment
lawmutt55

Dude the election is over. You lost. Let it go. Get over it.

December 03 2012 at 11:51 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lawmutt55's comment
Ginelle

We ALL lost...

December 04 2012 at 6:30 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down
Sabot

Just spare the agony of bleeding slowly to death, and shut 'er down!

December 04 2012 at 1:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
yearsocrapleft

JAN~20~09~`THE MUSLIM CLOWNS ECONOMIC DISASTER"~~THERE IS NO "HOPE" N NOTHING IS GOING TO "CHANGE" ,IT WILL STILL BE THE MUSLIM CLOWNS~~ RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT~~RECORD FORECLOSURES~~RECORD JOB LOSSES N "GREAT DEPRESSION"

December 03 2012 at 11:20 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
jonyla

Bruce Watson is a liar.....the whole report started with a lie.

December 03 2012 at 9:25 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jonyla's comment
democrackso

Bruce Watson is a rah rah cheerleading Obamite

December 03 2012 at 9:28 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
wlouche

One year recession, 4 years recovery and counting. 40 billion mortgage buy every month market goes down, production at 3 year low, unemployment will be up and nothing happening. No attempt to raise GPD to meet spending, just taxing. Same old Obama.

December 03 2012 at 9:14 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wlouche's comment
freethedems2012

Same old Commie

December 03 2012 at 9:24 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
democrackso

Somey
You're the epitome of these idiots

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Well Somehole I have to agree with you on this one. You certainly are.

December 03 2012 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to democrackso's comment
freethedems2012

Somey is a dope

December 03 2012 at 9:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to freethedems2012's comment
freethedems2012

Somey's a dope
And there is no hope

December 03 2012 at 9:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
Margie

This is another GREAT DEPRESSION like they had in the 1940's. That one lasted 12 years, so Folks, fasten your seat belts, - WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO YET. And the Great "D" of the 40's was corrected by the outbreak of World War II. This time, we have nothing, I mean nothing, to stimulate the economy so God only knows how long this horrible state of affairs will continue. With the leadership of this country, it could go on for how long no one knows. It is a shame that inept governing and stupid leadership in this country lead to what we are now experiencing!!!!!!

December 03 2012 at 8:19 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Margie's comment
Sabot

It was in the 30's Honey......the 40's boomed with war production.....then the 50s recession follwed by the 70's recession followed by the 80 recession followed by the semi big one in 2004 to the present!

December 04 2012 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
democrackso

Only a simple minded dopey Obamite thinks that the democrooks will pay down the debt with a tax increase on the wealthy. You could give the democrooks all the money in the world, they would spend it all and then look up at the moon for more.

December 03 2012 at 7:38 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to democrackso's comment
freethedems2012

They are idiots.

December 03 2012 at 8:02 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to freethedems2012's comment
Somey

You're the epitome of these idiots

December 03 2012 at 8:48 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down
freethedems2012

You are using that word wrong.

December 03 2012 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Sabot

Kind of like my kids when they were teens............Now they wonder how I ever did it!

December 04 2012 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hrhjonii

Does this mean the recession is over? We should all go out and buy ourselves a present or some thing..If we have eough money left from our unemployment benefits...

December 03 2012 at 7:35 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hrhjonii's comment
Sabot

Thats it.....nothing more to worry about....Take that nest egg and spend it on Lottery tickets! IF you loose it Obama will give you more to replace it! Happy Days are here again!

December 04 2012 at 2:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
democrackso

Somey
"SIMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Is that you????????????????

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yeah that's you. LMMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

December 03 2012 at 7:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply