Real GDP Still Well Below Peak

The concepts of “recession” and “recovery” have to do with change, and so we’re now in a recovery because things are getting better. But as this Calculated Risk chart makes clear actual conditions are still much worse than they were pre-crisis:

Real GDP as a Percent of Previous Peak Q1 2010 1

Note that because of population growth, real GDP needs to go higher than it was pre-peak for per capital living standards to re-obtain their high point. And because of population growth and productivity growth, unemployment won’t come down to a decent level until demand is strong enough for GDP that’s even higher than that.