Forget the Rosy Stats: The Little Guy Is in Bad Shape

Economy far worse off than statistics indicate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2009 1:34 PM CST

(Newser) – Don’t believe the rosy official statistics; for most Americans, the economy is in incredibly bad shape, according to the economist some call “Dr. Doom.” We’re looking at a tale of two economies, Nouriel Roubini writes in the Globe and Mail. For top businesses, it’s recovering slowly—hence the 3.5% growth in official GDP. But everyone else is struggling mightily. Factor in falling small business output, and Roubini thinks third-quarter GDP growth would stand around 2%.

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Unemployment looks bad at 10.2%, but in reality it’s far worse. The underemployment rate is a whopping 17.5%, and that doesn’t count the many employed people who’ve seen their hours or wages cut. Official retail numbers only count large retailers—add in the small ones, and consumption looks far worse. Bankruptcies are rampant among households and small firms, and income inequality is rising yet again. So while the recession may technically be over, “most of America is facing a near-depression.” (Read more unemployment stories.)

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