Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Recession or Depression?

A student recently sent our Ask a Librarian service a question about how to compare the current credit crisis to the Great Depression. There are so many ways to research this question and I suspect lots of resources that a student could use. Two things that I have found are:

The Conference Board in January published a 7 page report, A Crisis of Confidence, that examines data from their Coincident Economic Index (CEI), a measure of business cycles, to ask “Are we in a recession or a depression?” This report can be downloaded from the Conference Board Research Database.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has A Great Depression web site for educators. What’s especially interesting in the guide is their links to Historical Documents that include the annual reports of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board between 1933 and 1951 whose job it was to “facilitate refinancing of homes to stem the tide of mortgage foreclosures, to make mortgage loans more affordable, and to provide supervisory and regulatory oversight for thrift institutions.”

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