The recession is over and the recovery has begun, “but there is much work to be done,” Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago president Charles Evans said yesterday.
“Is the recession really over? In a narrow, technical sense, the short answer is yes,” Evans told the Corridor Economic Forecast Luncheon in Iowa, according to prepared text of the speech released by the Fed. “Many broad indicators of economic activity are increasing as we would expect in the early stages of a recovery. Nonetheless, I keep hearing the question, because for many households and businesses it does not yet feel like much of a recovery.
“Unemployment remains very high, and many businesses are still producing and selling much less than they did two years ago. I think what people really want to know is, when will we make significant progress in returning unemployment and other measures of economic health to more normal levels? We appear to be moving in that direction, but there is much work to be done.”
The signs of the recovery, Evans said, include gross domestic product, which rose in the third quarter after four quarters of declines, and while government stimulus spending accounted for a portion of this, “private demand is beginning to firm up.”
Housing has been mixed, he added, as buyers react to lowered prices and low interest rates. The fall in prices has hit the economy in a different way, with consumers cutting spending as household wealth drops.