Nightly News | September 20, 2010
WILLIAMS: Good evening.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: The folks who study recessions have determined this one is the longest since World War II . Where they might differ from the rest of us , however, is their view, their contention that the recession is now over and that it lasted 18 months. That doesn't go over well with the millions of Americans wondering when and how their own financial situation is going to improve. It's a sentiment the president ran right into today in a town meeting televised live on CNBC and featuring a dose of humanity during this rough time. We begin tonight with White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie . Savannah , good evening.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE reporting: Good evening, Brian . As you said, there are those technical measures that economists talk about, and then there is the reality on the ground; and today the president got a dose of the latter.
President BARACK OBAMA: Thank you very much . Thank you guys. Thank you.
GUTHRIE: As the economic experts today were putting an official end date on the recession, at a CNBC sponsored town hall, the president was getting an earful from Americans still reeling from it.
Ms. VELMA HART: I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people and I'm waiting, sir. I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet.
Mr. TED BRASSFIELD: I really want to know, is the American dream dead for me?
Pres. OBAMA: Absolutely not.
GUTHRIE: The president forced to acknowledge again the primary economic indicator for most Americans isn't budging.
Pres. OBAMA: I can describe what's happening to the economy overall, but if you're out of work right now, the only thing that you're going to be hearing is, 'When do I get a job?'
GUTHRIE: Still, the National Bureau of Economic Research today announced the recession technically ended in June 2009 , 18 months after it started in December 2007 . In the process, the economy shed 7.3 million jobs, the worst downturn since the Great Depression , and one hard to climb out of.
Mr. GUS FAUCHER (Moody's Economy.com): We suffered such large job losses that it's going to take two, three years until the economy gets back to where it was in 2007 . That's going to be a very long and painful process.
GUTHRIE: With many employers still too nervous to hire until they're sure the recovery is real, the one thing Americans need most is the last thing to come back.
Mr. TODD CHIESA: There's still several trillion dollars sitting in banks of large corporations that don't feel like it's over. They're not hiring. They're not building plants. They're not investing.
Ms. SHANICE ROBERTS: No, the recession is not over yet. We have a long way to go .
GUTHRIE: Well as the economy recovers, a lot of people who frankly just gave up looking for work will start looking again. And because the government measures unemployment by who is looking for work, we could see the unemployment rate actually tick up again. Some think it will hit double-digits before this is all over. Brian :
WILLIAMS: All right, Savannah Guthrie starting us off at the White House tonight. Savannah , thanks.