Recessionist - What The Papers Say

By jamesup Last edited 121 months ago
Recessionist - What The Papers Say

A while back people used to worry about 'talking ourselves into recession' and, while we can hardly take a moral stance on this issue, there is likely some value to the concern. As we explained to the family over dinner the other day:

If the journalist tells his plumber, lets call him Mike, not to buy that new van because of the recession, then the car salesman won't get a commission, so he'll have to cancel his gym membership. His personal trainer, Dan, is obviously worse off and so he decides not to take out the girl from accounts for a nice dinner. Pierre, the sommelier at his preferred restaurant, then gets laid off and feels as if he can't afford to visit Bordeaux for the grape harvest after-all, so the airline cuts back on flights and the pilot, Biggles, has to take a pay cut. Biggles then decides that he doesn't really need to redo the bathroom this year after-all, and so Mike doesn't get the call - et voila - he can't afford the van he was not going to buy anyway.

That, on a rather bigger scale with a few more people, is what this is all about - consumer confidence - if people don't spend money then they won't have money spent on them... that is unless they are a landlord or civil servant; they get paid whatever the rest of us do.

One website is filtering out all the upsetting words from your preferred news provider, sadly we feel that a mere web-mash will not protect your from the full brunt of insightful commentary that you have ahead of you - and we've got graphs to prove it!

In a common or garden, normal, ordinary month, the word 'recession' crops up in the national papers about two or three hundred times. With that in mind, here's how often it's been showing its typeface since June last year:


From practically nothing last summer, it's bounded it's way to top billing, showing up in the gossip columns and news pages of our selected 19 publications a staggering 1847 times last month (for purposes of comparison 'X-factor' was name-checked 604 times). Reports say (and we think) the recession has started, so I guess you think that's the worst of it over? Surely the papers will be getting back to pap shots and free musical DVDs soon?

Not quite, here's what happened last time:


The actual, proper, technical, recession lasted from April 1991 to the end of that year. However, that period was the mere tip of the iceberg for Fleet Street's talented typists, they actually managed to write more after it had finished and they didn't even get back to pre-recession levels of recession discussion until a year after it was all over.

With TV, Radio, magazines, freesheets, newspapers, and errm blogs, there's going to be a lot of comment and analysis; be it thrifty family eating tips we can learn from the 40s or the hard hitting economic analysis of our finest minds. Brace yourselves - or cancel your subscriptions and stay away from the windows and doors until 2010 when it might all be over.

PS. Got a tip, story or idea? Send your recession related info and thoughts to

Last Updated 08 October 2008