It’s that graph again


Watching the BBC News at 6 o’clock tonight, I was amused by the number of times they showed an animated graphic with a downward thrust arrow apparently falling off the edge of a cliff.

It’s an economic downturn, a slowdown, a decline, but is it a recession? Officially, two quarters of negative growth means we’re in a recession. But the BBC and other news outlets don’t want to wait a whole three months, so they’re reporting the downturn, the slowdown, the decline as the confirmation that “we’re in a recession.”

It was wall-to-wall bad news tonight, with the first 15 minutes of the 30-minute bulletin dedicated to the downturn, the slowdown, the decline. The BBC even have a special logo for the word downturn, with a cleverly placed downward arrow on the letter n.

The bulletin ended with a reminder that we’ve had 63 quarters of economic growth, followed by one quarter of negative (that’s -0.5%) growth, or – what’s the opposite of growth? Shrinkage, which means the economy’s “been in the pool!” as George from Seinfeld might say.

Now, I ask you. What does 63 quarters of growth followed by one quarter of -0.5% shrinkage look like? Does it look like this?:




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