The Financial Ninja does a series called Really Scary Fed Charts (here is his latest), highlighting the Fed's balance sheet since it starting growing under the credit easing policy (you can see JKA for a short description of CEP). Hopefully he won't mind that I copied his title - it's just too catchy.
G7 Growth rates are falling flat - Canada is the last man standing.
G7 unemployment is rising...quickly.
The chart illustrates the annual change in the unemployment rate across the G7 economies (ex Italy because its latest release was in September). The December 2008 surge in unemployment in Canada, the U.S., an the U.K. has surpassed those in 2001: +1.4%, +2.7%, and +1.2%, respectively in December. Germany is an aberration, where it's unemployment rate remains at historical lows, 7.2%. But given the previous chart (on G7 growth), even German firms will eventually be forced to fire - income is just too low.
Enough about the G7 - growth rates across a larger set of countries (50) look scary, too: two charts comparing growth in 2008 to that in 2001.
However, 18 economies posted negative annual growth rates, ranging from Latvia, -10.5%, to the U.S., -0.2%, and average growth across all 50 economies is 1.67%. And there are a lot of developed economies in this category: U.S., Italy, Japan, Iceland, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, to name a few; actually, most of them are. The downside risk to World growth is very high, and the number of contracting economies will likely grow in coming quarters.
The World recession is taking hold, and few economies will remain untouched throughout this cycle. The IMF is projecting 0.5% World growth in 2009, but I wouldn't be surprised if that is revised downward, and below zero.