According to the New York Times, “five years into the Great Depression, one out of five workers in the United States was unemployed. The economy was nearly 20 percent smaller in 1934 than it had been at the peak, in 1929.”
However, the Greeks now wish if only they could have it so good.
This week, the Greek government released its estimate of economic output in the fourth quarter of 2012, and published its unemployment report.
According to the NYT, the Hellenic Statistics Authority has a history of deception, given that the country lied to get into the euro zone, and it now cannot apply seasonal adjustments to its quarterly G.D.P. estimates. As a result, the figures shown in the charts are calculated by adding up the four quarters of each year. But European officials now vouch for the quality of Greek figures.
Nonetheless, the biggest difference between the course of the two economies, lies in government consumption spending. In contrast with the United States, in the case of Greece, which was forced by Europe to follow harsh austerity, spending has fallen rapidly even if it has not declined as rapidly as some Europeans would have liked it to.
By the fifth year of the Depression, personal consumption spending had begun to recover in the United States. In Greece last year, it fell 9.1 percent, more than in any other year of the downturn, NYT reports.