In some rather hallucinatory Monday news, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the recession–yes, our recession–started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. From their press release:
At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months.
In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.
A recession is a period of falling economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. The trough marks the end of the declining phase and the start of the rising phase of the business cycle. Economic activity is typically below normal in the early stages of an expansion, and it sometimes remains so well into the expansion.
The committee decided that any future downturn of the economy would be a new recession and not a continuation of the recession that began in December 2007. The basis for this decision was the length and strength of the recovery to date.
It’s a “jobless recovery,” remember? As Zero Hedge puts it, “We have yet to hear when the distinguished Ph.D.-bearing shamans of Keynesianism at the NBER will convene to decide when the Depression that started in December of 2007 will end.” If you’re curious about what the economy might actually be doing, check out ShadowStats.