Funemployment: The Latest Recession Dictionary Entry

Diminishing or Shooting Up? Depends on the Word

decremental: adjective The act or process of decreasing or becoming gradually less; the amount lost by gradual diminution or waste. -- courtesy The American Heritage Dictionary.

The opposite of incremental, decremental has been appearing more frequently in reports by analysts reviewing the financial health of various companies, used in such phrases as "decremental margins" and "decremental sales."

It's "an ugly word," Deutsche Bank analyst Peter Reilly told The Wall Street Journal.

**ADDITION deTARP: verb To repay an investment by the government's Troubled Assets Relief Program. While TARP was widely viewed as a bailout for the country's struggling financial system, the public relations hit many institutions took for taking TARP funds and concerns about government restrictions on TARP-funded banks, has made many eager to "detarp" or return money.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, more than a dozen banks have returned about $1.3 billion in TARP funds, including TCF Financial, which gave back $361 million, and Sterling Bancshares, which paid back $125 million. Of the country's largest banks, at least three -- Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley -- have applied to the federal government to return the funds, Bloomberg News reported. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley each received $10 billion in TARP funds, while JPMorgan got $25 billion.

furlough: noun 1. A leave of absence granted to a governmental or institutional employee (as a soldier, civil servant or missionary); a document authorizing such a leave of absence.
2. A leave of absence granted by an employer to an employee; especially: a leave of absence granted at the employee's request; a temporary lack of employment due to economic conditions. -- courtesy Merriam-Webster

Furloughs have grown more common these days as some companies seek to cut costs by giving employees unpaid time off. In January, Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper publisher, announced it would furlough most of its 31,000 employees for one week.

Great Recession: noun The current recession, which began in December 2007.

The length and severity of the current recession has led some in the media to dub it the "Great Recession," a term that echoes the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"It won't produce as steep a fall in American output as the Depression did, but it may prove to be as prolonged," Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson wrote in an op-ed article last week in The New York Times.

**ADDITION green shoots: noun Initially a term typically applied to budding plants, now used to describe new indicators of economic recovery.

Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke referred to improvements in money market mutual funds and business lending as "green shoots" in a March interview with CBS's "60 Minutes."

Many Words for Job Cuts

layoff: noun 1. The act of suspending or dismissing an employee, as for lack of work or because of corporate reorganization. 2. A period of temporary inactivity or rest.

The word layoff once was used synonymously with the word furlough -- meaning a temporary dismissal for work -- but, unfortunately for many workers, layoffs announced during this recession tend to be of the permanent variety.

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