Apparently many people like to say that the current economic situation is the worst since the great depression. While that makes for great headlines, and plays to the Democrats story, it’s not the truth.
Small Business Labs has a blog post that compares the current conditions with the 80’s, with graphs.
Unemployment was very high in the early 80s. The industrial Midwest was referred to as the “rust belt” due to foreign competition wiping out manufacturing jobs. Japanese car imports captured a substantial share of the US market, Chrysler required a bail out and many manufacturing companies went bankrupt.
The unemployment rate peaked in 1982 at 10.8%, which was no where near depression levels but substantially above where we are today.
Inflation and interest rates were also high compared to today. At the beginning of the 80s inflation was over 10% and mortgage interest rates were over 16%. GDP growth was negative in 1982 (-1.9%) versus positive growth so far this year (+2.1%).
The 80s also featured a number of economic shocks. At the beginning of the decade we had the bursting of the energy bubble. While positive overall for the US economy, this decimated the energy industry and cities like Houston.