The current growth cycle has been the second longest on record:
But it has been much shallower than the previous cycles: “real GDP growth in the current expansion lags the other three expansions—by a lot. As of the first quarter of 2018, real GDP has expanded by 21% since the beginning of the current expansion; this is far lower than the 36% compound growth we saw at this point in the 1991‑2001 expansion. The chart also shows that the growth path for the longest expansions has continued to shift lower over time; the 1961‑1969 expansion saw real GDP grow by 52% by the end of its ninth year, while the economy had grown by just 38% by the end of year eight of the 1982‑1990 expansion.”
And here’s a summary of why loading risks of recession onto households is not such a great idea: “Real consumption has grown by 23% since the summer of 2009, compared to growth rates of 41% and 50% at the same point in the expansions of 1991‑2001 and 1961‑1969, respectively. The reluctance of consumers to spend in this expansion is not surprising when you consider how much of the brunt of the last recession was borne by this group.”
Households’ net worth collapse in the GFC has been more dramatic and the recovery from the crisis has been less pronounced than in the previous cycles:
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Hey, you hear some say, but the recovery this time around has been ‘historic’ in terms of jobs creation. Right? Well, it has been historic… as in historically low:
So, despite the length of the recovery cycle, current state of the economy hardly warrants elevated levels of optimism. The recovery from the Global Financial Crisis and the Great Recession has been unimpressively sluggish, and the burden of the crises has been carried on the shoulders of ordinary households. Any wonder we have so many ‘deplorables’ ready to vote populist? As we noted in our recent paper (see: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3033949), the rise of populism has been a logical corollary to (1) the general trends toward secular stagnation in the economy since the mid-1990s, and (2) the impact of the twin 2008-2010 crises on households.
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