I'm not sure if anybody in Washington is aware of this yet--probably not, because I don't think the Easter Bunny has a lobbyist--but according to Panjiva, a company that tracks international business shipping, delicious chocolate easter bunnies appear to be among the unfortunate victims hit hardest by the current recession.
The company reports that the number of shipments of chocolate bunnies to the United States has plummeted 33 percent since 2007. (It should be noted that the "bunny" category is rather broad and includes, according to press reports, "plush toys, decor, and similar items" in addition to delicious chocolate bunnies.)
Curious about the reasons for the decline, I got in touch with Panjiva's CEO. "The most likely explanation for the decline in bunny shipments is the more general shift in consumer spending from discretionary items to basics," Panjiva's CEO, Josh Green, told me (yes, we share a name--also rugged good looks). "That said, there is a chance that we're seeing the early indications of a rise in anti-bunny-ism."
This strikes me as deeply unfortunate, although I and my family, being good, patriotic Americans--and also Keynesians--are certainly going to do our part to provide a chocolate-Easter-bunny stimulus on Sunday. While the news on chocolate bunny futures might be grim, Panjiva reports happier news about the import figures for another seasonal category: "Easter egg products" jumped a robust 21 percent in a single year.