They say that it is a recession when your neighbors and friends are out of a job, and a depression when you are unemployed. By that measure, it is not a depression, but there is no doubt that the economic downturn is affecting people we know. Many law firms, for example, have instituted significant layoffs of partners, associates, and staff.
In the meantime, the steady decline in the stock market is a dreary, depressing, and constant reminder of our economic woes. This article — http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123604419092515347.html — takes a perspective that some people will not agree with. In my experience, however, investors tend to focus on the future, rather than on the past. In my view, therefore, the steep drop in stock prices since President Obama took office undoubtedly does reflect, at least in part, a lack of investor confidence in his economic team and his plans.