Obviously the recession wasn’t good for many individuals, but was it good for the U.S. in general? According to a recent article in the Washington Post, productivity is up. This is not at all surprising, because workers are afraid of losing their jobs. When unemployment is very low, it is easy to be complacent about a job. The boss is reluctant to fire someone when replacements are hard to get. But when qualified replacements are applying in droves, firing a marginally qualified worker is very appealing.
Another article recently said that companies are no longer afraid to hire workers who are over qualified. These workers now stay at those jobs because they are grateful to have a job. This helps productivity.
Productivity is not the only thing that benefits. There is over consumption in the U.S. People buy more than they need. Symbolic of this are the McMansions that are so visible in many wealthy areas. I realize it was not just the wealthy who bought more house than they could afford, but the 1800 sq. ft. house for five people is a more justifiable purchase than the 6000 sq.ft. house for four people. Obviously, neither should be bought by people who cannot afford it, but I am not sorry to see fewer McMansions built.
I hope productivity and more rational consumption stay when the economy gets better. It probably won’t , but I can still hope.