Is It Over? Day 442

By Niraj Chokshi

It has been 442 days since the semi-official beginning of the current financial crisis, and many people believe that the worst is over. Is it? Not necessarily. Below, the blue line charts the daily percentage changes in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from October 28, 1929, known as "Black Monday," when the Dow dropped 13 percent, through July 8, 1932, when it bottomed out. The red line charts the Dow from September 15, 2008, the Monday when news broke of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing, through today.


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On Tuesday, January 13, 1931, 442 days after the beginning of the Great Crash, the Dow stood at 165.95, 215 points below its peak of 381.17 on September 3, 1929, but still 125 points above its nadir of 41.22 on July 8, 1932. Despite the return of 80,000 Detroit auto workers to their jobs, newspapers announced a 4.1 percent drop in employment, the largest monthly dip since 1920. To make matters worse, the rising number of unemployed couldn't even drown their sorrows after the national prohibition director announced renewed commitment to combating rum-running.

On Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 442 days after the beginning of the current financial crisis, the Dow closed at 10,471.58, a new high for 2009 but 3692.95 points below its peak of 14,164.53 on October 9, 2007. Most news anticipated President Obama's announcement of a 30,000-troop deployment to Afghanistan, but there were a few economic bright spots -- several car companies, including Ford and GM, posted pleasantly surprising November sales, while manufacturing in the U.S. and China expanded.


(This feature is from a new business-oriented website to be produced by Atlantic Media and to debut in March.)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/12/is-it-over-day-442/31107/