Putting the current recession into context

We keep hearing about how this recession is the worst since the Great Depression, which of course conjures up images of bread lines and "Grapes of Wrath" style poverty-- not exactly a good confidence booster. I know I don't want to run out and buy a new car right now.

NPR had an interesting piece on the subject today, saying that it's important to note, no one is saying that it's AS BAD as the Great Depression. We're at a national unemployment level of 8.1% right now, (Austin's unemployment rate is at 6.4%) which is peanuts next to the Great Depression's 25% unemployment. Cashews and almonds too. (Food side note. Have you tried Ricky's Lucky Nuts? They are freaking tasty. I buy them in bulk at Central Market.)

The one thing that is similar between the two, they note, is that both recessions have a banking crisis at their core, as opposed to, say, the dot-com implosion of the early 2000s. Close to a third of American banks failed in the 30's, which completely shut down lending. We got a little taste of that this past fall and winter. Let's hope that the Obama administration's financial rescue package won't let that happen again, and we'll all be back to breathing easier soon.

Listen or read the NPR article here.

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