Greece’s recession is over, but its depression will be the worst in history

It only took six years, but Greece’s recession is finally over. Just don’t call it a recovery just yet.

Indeed, according to the latest gross domestic product numbers, Greece’s economy actually stopped shrinking at the start of the year. We didn’t realize that before, because it just switched over from reporting GDP on a year-on-year to a quarter-on-quarter basis. So it turns out that it grew at a 3.2 percent annual pace in the first quarter, 1.2 percent in the second, and 2.8 percent in the most recent one. It’s been enough to send unemployment all the way down to … 25.9 percent.

Greece’s depression, in other words, is still nowhere near done. You can see that easily enough in the chart above, which I’ve modified from The Economist. It compares Greece the past few years with what used to be the gold standard of economic catastrophe: the U.S. during the Great Depression. Now, Greece’s economy fell marginally less than America’s did back then — around 27 percent at its worst — but the biggest difference between the two is the slope of the recovery.

Lees Deze column van Matt O’Brien verder op The Washington Post