Thursday, September 23, 2010

Warren Buffett: Is US In Recession Or Not?

On 14 Sep 2010: Buffett Rules Out Double-Dip Recession Amid Growth

  • Warren Buffett ruled out a second recession in the U.S. and said businesses owned by his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. are growing.

    “I am a huge bull on this country,” Buffett, Berkshire’s chief executive officer, said today in remarks to the Montana Economic Development Summit. “We will not have a double-dip recession at all. I see our businesses coming back almost across the board.” ....

On CNBC: Warren Buffett to CNBC: "We're Still In a Recession"

  • Warren Buffett tells CNBC that by his own "common sense" definition, the U.S. is "still in a recession.

    In a taped interview with Becky Quick airing this morning on CNBC's Squawk Box, Buffett says, "I think we're in a recession until real per capita GDP gets back to where it was before."

    While Buffett continues to believe the U.S. will eventually emerge from its economic downturn, "We're not gonna be out of it for awhile."


The CNBC article continues...

  • BECKY: So-- how are small businesses faring right now, if you had to-- look overall? Obviously, everyone's in a different position. But overall, how do you think they're doing?

    BUFFETT: I think they're doing about like the economy is. That they-- they've been through-- a terrible period... And-- and basically, the government did the right thing in-- in terms of-- of getting the economy going again. It can't do it overnight or anything of the sort. I think most small businesses have come back somewhat. But they've-- they-- they're nowhere near their peaks.

    BECKY: The NBER said this week that the-- recession officially ended back in June of last year.

    BUFFETT: Well, they define it differently. (Laughs.) But I-- I mean, I-- I define it-- I think we're in a recession until real per capita GDP gets back to where it was-- before. That is not the way the National Bureau of Economic Research measures it. But I will tell you that to any-- on any common sense definition, the average American is below where he was before, or his family, in terms of real income, GDP. We're still in a recession. And-- and we're not gonna be out of it for awhile, but we will get out of it.

    BECKY: We're not gonna be out of it for awhile meaning, you can see what? A quarter, two quarters, a year down the road? Just from your business is-- is telling you?

    BUFFETT: Our businesses are coming back-- on average, we've got 70-some businesses. But most of them-- the great majority are coming back slowly. If you take our railroad business, and our railroad business is typical of the other railroads in the company. If you take the peak period for shipments and then you go all the way down to the bottom, we're 61 percent of the way back up. That's better, I think, than most businesses are in the country. I don't think most businesses are 61 percent-- our-- our carpet business, our brick business, our insulation business, they're not back 61 percent, but they are moving back.