According to this guy, the US has been in a depression since 2007, using an idiosyncratic definition of depression. Putting aside the semantics, I was skeptical of, yet intrigued by, the claim that there was a significant, persistent change in economic growth since the 2008-9 recession. Using data from FRED, I plotted real GDP per capita. The plot is on a semi-log scale, where a constant percentage growth appears as a straight line. The quarterly FRED GDP data are plotted in red. Exponential fits to the 1947-2007 and 2009-2019 are plotted in green and blue, respectively. The fits have been extended to highlight the difference between the two annual growth rates (2.15% & 1.56%). The difference between the green and blue fits in the current year is more than $10k per capita: nothing to sneeze at.
Previous recessions have been followed by higher growth rates to return the GDP to the trendline. Put another way, while a single trendline works for the period 1947-2007, no such fit is reasonable for the entire period 1947-present. This last decade is in a class by itself. Even the nasty, stagflation-ridden 1970s look good by comparison.
A couple of technical notes:
- I used per capita GDP instead of total GDP used in the linked video because it removes the confounding effect of population growth. Adding more people with the same per capita GDP does not make individuals wealthier even thought the country as a whole has grown.
- Real, rather than nominal GDP is used. The GDP is chained and seasonally adjusted, which leaves the door open to all sorts of statistical shenanigans.