Believe it or not, I found this less downbeat than most economic news du jour. Things are not yet as bad as they have been in past downturns, at least according to the Economist’s house measure:
The Economist’s informal R-word index is also sounding alarms. Our gauge counts how many stories in the Washington Post and the New York Times use the word “recession” in a quarter. This simple formula pinpointed the start of recession in 1981 and 1990 and 2001. In the past few years the R-word index has been extremely low. It began to rise in the second half of 2007 and, measured at a quarterly rate, has soared in early 2008 (see chart). Although the number of stories is still lower than before previous recessions, the recent jump—if sustained for a quarter—is similar to that which preceded the 2001 downturn.