The Great Recession is over. That’s right, for those who have not been keeping up with the news, the recession, which started in December 2007 has been over in the United States since June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Yet, some people, including students, are not buying it.
“No way, I don’t see how researchers can say that the recession is over when there is still a ridiculously high unemployment rate, as well as foreclosure rate,” said kinesiology junior Susan Clinton.
She said the recession hit close to home when both of her parents lost their jobs due to downsizing at the companies they worked for.
Students such as Clinton aren’t the only ones in doubt. City officials such as San Luis Obispo councilman and political science professor Allen Settle agree.
“The people could care less about some analytical proclamation,” Settle said. “What they’re saying is, ‘Is it over for me?’ and it’s not.”
What many people fear is a double-dip recession in effect. This would mean that when the recession was stated to have ended back in 2009, another one actually began.
“I think that when the research is revealed, we are going to see that another (recession) started immediately after the first one was said to be ‘over,’” said the owner of Ben Franklin’s Sandwiches, Jim Wilimeck.
In a statement, the NBER acknowledged the possibility of a double-dip recession, but then said if a recession did follow the one that ended in 2009, it was a new recession and not a continuation of the one that began almost three years ago.
For the city of San Luis Obispo, news of the recession being over will not really affect the majority of the population. For the most part, people who were already at lower income levels before the recession are the ones that were hit the hardest on the Central Coast.
“The recession affected the people who are in the bottom of the income bracket,” said Settle. “That includes students, single female head of households that are hispanic and it includes individuals with little-to-no education.”
Despite individuals throughout the country being affected greatly by the recession, San Luis Obispo as a whole has not been affected to a great extent, Settle said.
“The recession did not have much effect on the city of San Luis Obispo, primarily because of the number of government employment positions here, and secondly because the desire to live in this community is at a great demand,” Settle said.
While the rest of California still seems to be suffering, San Luis Obispo continues to keep afloat despite current conditions.
“Collectively, San Luis Obispo has not really suffered to the same extent as other parts of the state, particularly in the Central Valley,” Settle said.
That being said, there are still some local residents and businesses struggling to make due.
“Our business is down about 15 percent, maybe even a bit more,” Wilimeck said. “It has definitely gotten worse since the recession hit.”
Wilimeck’s downtown business has been around since 1969.
“Local businesses are being affected by the following: the first, the customers are more reluctant to spend money collectively,” Settle said. “Secondly, The banks aren’t loaning money as easily as they once did.”
However, with the population of Cal Poly students in the area, businesses have been relying on them to keep afloat.
“The students are a huge economic force,” Settle said.
Clinton said that having thousands of students in the area should be a positive thing for businesses, especially in the food industry.
“I feel like college students in general don’t have time to cook as much, so those businesses are probably doing better than clothing stores and stuff like that,” she said.
However, Settle said he continues to be optimistic about the future and hope for good times to return.
“We didn’t go down that much but we are still on the upper trend in any event,” Settle said.
To city officials, the upper trend still means there will be struggles for local businesses and residents, but all are trying to remain optimistic.
“We will stick through it, but we’re walking on the edge … you see more people going under and right now the plan is to just keep my people employed, and working on not making money, but paying the bills,” Wilimeck said.
It is a hasty generalization for ‘people’ to say that another recession began after the one that ended in 2009. Yes, the unemployment rate is still high and yes, many people still see the effects of the recession on their own family, but that is no grounds for making such an assumption. Only one student was interviewed about the effect of the recession on her life (both parents lost their jobs). And Wilimeck’s business, which I will note, did take a turn during the recession, does not seem to be struggling to stay afloat. Not only is it a hasty generalization to conclude that there is a double-dip recession, but the examples chosen do not support that conclusion.
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