Is It A Depression Yet?

By Patrick Appel
The unemployment rate hit 6.7 percent yesterday and the underemployment rate hit 12.5 percent.  What does it mean?:

It's yet another sign that this recession is a much bigger deal than the last two, in 2001 and 1990-91. But in percentage terms (it was a 0.39% drop) there were bigger one month falls in employment in 1980 and, repeatedly, in 1974 and 1975. There were also sharper drops in almost every year of the 1950s, but those were mostly the result of temporary layoffs that were reversed a few months later...It means a lot of people are losing their jobs. Beyond that, it's going to be hard to say what the significance is until we know what the next six months or so look like. If there are only a couple more months this bad, then it's a manageable if painful downturn. If the declines keep growing and growing, then it's something else entirely.