Recession Watch

Worst Economy Since 1982

Economic historians looking for a comparison for our current woes don’t have to dial their clocks back to the Great Depression just yet: Economic data released today shows that the final quarter of 2008 was the American economy’s worst since at least 1982, contracting at an annualized rate of approximately 6 percent. The decline, according to the Financial Times, “is likely to be broad-based,” with consumption falling at an annualized rate of 4 percent and industrial production declining a whopping 15 percent. Single-family homes also fell in December to a record low—an annual pace of 331,000. In 2008, 482,000 new homes were sold, down from 776,000 a year earlier.