Is the 2023 economy worse than the Great Depression?

(WGN Radio) – Inflation is slowing, unemployment is relatively low, and the stock market is strong, economists say. Why does it still feel bad?

The hosts of TikTokers have coined a name for it: „quiet depression.”

The economy is bad — almost as bad as it was during the Great Depression — but no one admits it.

One Viral video It compares prices in 1930 to today’s prices, saying the average home then cost $3,900, a car $600 and rent $18. Meanwhile, TikToker says the average salary is $1,300.

Today, all those prices are apparently much higher: $436,000 for a house, $48,000 for a new car and $2,000 for rent. Meanwhile, he says, the average person earns $56,000. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics That number is slightly higher at $58,000 for someone working full-time. The US Census Bureau median household income last year was about $75,000)

However, TikTok points out that in 2023, those big-ticket items will cost a higher percentage of your annual income than they did in 1930, when housing prices were triple annual salaries and rents were smaller. Fraction.

„We are in a silent depression,” the video concludes.

But journalists and researchers cast doubt on the numbers being circulated on social media. New York Times reporter Gina Smialek Digging into the stats And a big problem was discovered: solid, reliable government data didn’t really exist before 1940. So the numbers used in these „Quiet Depression” videos are from questionable sources.

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It’s true that housing in the U.S. has gotten more expensive over the past 100 years, Smialek admits, but that hasn’t translated into a sluggish economy.

Jake Kelly, a senior contributor to Forbes, also wrote about the growing confidence in A Latest piece. Speaking to WGN radio, he pointed out another flaw in the comparison between today’s economy and that of nearly 100 years ago.

„Back then, you didn’t have Social Security, you didn’t have welfare, you didn’t have food stamps, you didn’t have all the safety nets that we have now,” he said. „Let’s say the average teenager has an iPhone, they go to Starbucks and have a latte — or whatever they do — and they rent a car, and they have a good lifestyle.”

Not everyone is like that, but he admits that even comparing the problems of today’s economy to the problems of the early 1930s is not a fair comparison.

Listen to Kelly’s full interview with WGN Radio below.

Kelly says today’s youth face real challenges, like student loan debt, sky-high rents and the feeling that no matter how much they save, they can’t afford the ideal of home ownership.

“Why do young people look around and say, 'Wow, this is terrible. It’s terrible.’ And, you know, young people, they don’t really know what happened with the Great Depression. People jumped from their windows. Banks were closed and people could not withdraw money from the banks. There was the 'Grapes of Wrath’ variety that you had to carry across the country in your jalopy. So I guess they left that part out.

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