US economic growth and recession

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Why has Europe's economy done worse than the US? | Mark Weisbrot

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 17/01/2014 - 12:15am in

The eurozone experience shows what can happen when people lose control over their government's economic policies

If we compare the economic recovery of the United States since the Great Recession with that of Europe – or more specifically the eurozone countries – the differences are striking, and instructive. The US recession technically lasted about a year and a half – from December 2007 to June 2009. (Of course, for America's 20.3 million unemployed and underemployed, and millions of others, the recession never ended – but more on that below.) The eurozone had a recession of similar length from around January 2008 to April 2009. But it then fell into a longer recession in the third quarter of 2011 that lasted for another two years, and may only be exiting that recession currently.

This makes a big difference in people's lives. In the eurozone, unemployment is at near record levels of 12.1%; while in the US, it is currently 6.7%. Despite the incompleteness of these measures, these numbers are comparable. And, of course, in Spain and Greece unemployment is 26.7 and 27.8%, respectively, with youth unemployment at an intolerable 57.4 and 59.2%.

Historical experience indicates that successful fiscal consolidations were often launched in the midst of economic downturns or the early stages of recovery.

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