Savings accounts and employment between recession and recovery

September 22, 2010

| MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA

Most Americans have probably never heard of the National Bureau of Economic Research, but they know they don't agree with them.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is the organization which officially sets the dates for recessions and expansions in the U.S. economy. They recently announced that the Great Recession actually ended over a year ago -- as of June 2009.

The news of the NBER announcement was not greeted with dancing in the streets.

Savings accounts and employment suggest otherwise

To many Americans, this does not yet feel like a recovery. Interest rates on savings accounts, driven down during the recession, remain near zero -- 0.18 percent on average as of September 20th, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Money market rates aren't much better, at an average of 0.26 percent.

Employment also remains down, though it has shown some improvement. U.S. employment peaked at 137,951,000 jobs in December 2007. Then it started losing jobs, and by the time employment hit bottom in December 2009, the economy had lost 8,363,000 jobs.

So far this year, through August, 723,000 jobs had been added. This doesn't come close to restoring the number of jobs that were lost, but it is a start in the right direction -- and that's a key to understanding how savings accounts and employment factor into an economic recovery.

The long road of economic recovery

To understand how there can still be so much bad economic news even though the recession is over, think about someone who has lost 20 pounds of muscle during a serious illness. Even after the illness is over, it can take a long time before that person regains that lost weight and is up to full strength.

In short, there is a difference between starting a recovery and being fully recovered. The economy has a long road of recovery to travel, but at least now it is moving in the right direction.

Let us know what you think -- when will the recession finally be over, in your view, or do you already see signs of recovery in your daily life?

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