The Numbers Don’t Lie: Reagan Recovery Far Stronger Than Obama

Kenneth Spence /

The Great Recession lasted 18 months—slightly longer than the recession of 1981—and it might not be fair to compare the two. Unemployment was higher, for example, during the 1981 recession. But Reagan’s approaching centennial brings to mind the Reagan Recovery, and the economic climate of 1983 must be enviable from where President Obama sits in 2011.

Tomorrow the Department of Labor releases its monthly jobs report, and early reports do not suggest improvement. The numbers will certainly not be anywhere close to those 14 months into the Reagan Recovery.

A cool interactive chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis allows direct comparisons of every recession since 1948, and forces questions about each recession. Why does the recovery of 1982-1983 zoom off the top of the chart just when the current recovery is settling into a trough? (more…)