Here are some startling datasets from the past several months, and their Great-Depression counterparts... As you can see, the world is tanking far faster than it did in the beginning of the Great Depression. While this may be a case of "the larger they are, the harder they fall," there's no pleasant way to spin those charts. If you check the link for the full set up analyses, it appears that Europe has been hardest hit, with the Americas and the Far East taking the second largest hit, and the developing world taking the smallest proportional hit. Now, as Dr. Pavan, an Italian economist, explained to me, the European social economic structure does not allow the continent to recover quickly from any recession. The combination of strict hiring/firing regulations and thick safety nets makes for a rigid labor market that will ensure Europe's depression for at least the next half-decade. For comparison, from the same site as above, Italy's economy, with its tough labor regulations, has effectively flatlined, collapsing far faster than it did in the 1930s. By comparison, the US has fallen a third as far, and is out-performing the US of the Great Depression, if only marginally. If history is any indication, we are in for a long, deep depression, and we shouldn't be fooled by unreliable lagging indicators. Your thoughts?