Our View: Life after recession

DKS Editors

Recession. There, now we can say it.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonpartisan economic research organization, announced yesterday the United States has officially been in a recession since last December. The members define a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in production, employment, real income, and other indicators.”

It’s all well and good to look at broad economic indicators, but what does this mean for average Americans and specifically, for college students? So, we are in a recession. This announcement confirms what many of us have already known and have been dealing with since the credit crisis began.

It means we will be dealing with greater difficulty securing student loans and finding a job after graduation. Many of us are used to cutting corners to cover the cost of college tuition and associated expenses, but we will probably have to get used to cutting even more.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson commented on the announcement to the Associated Press, saying he didn’t think the decision was “big news” to Americans dealing with the economic slowdown. Yes and no. It’s big news in the sense that we’ve been given a name to this crisis we can understand. We can now confidently say, “Yes, we are indeed in a recession. Now we must deal with it.”

The only questions are, how? Will it get worse before it gets better? We were teenagers during a period of economic growth, and many of us probably don’t really know how to deal with a troubling economic outlook.

The importance of financial literacy and spending money wisely cannot be underestimated. Think about ways you can cut down on spending and save money. Try to make sense of the stock market. Learn to do without that second mocha from Starbucks. Think about where you want to be after graduation.

It’s difficult enough for top economists to predict what’s going to happen next, but we can do our part by asking questions and being aware of how broad economic changes can affect our daily lives. For example, even though Black Friday sales were slightly up throughout the nation from last year, that doesn’t mean most of us won’t be Christmas shopping on a tight budget this year. It’s time to start paying attention to how much we’re spending or else we may be the ones caught in the crunch.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board whose members are listed at left.