The chronology comprises alternating dates of peaks and troughs in economic activity. A recession is a period between a peak and a trough, and an expansion is a period between a trough and a peak. During a recession, a significant decline in economic activity spreads across the economy and can last from a few months to more than a year. Similarly, during an expansion, economic activity rises substantially, spreads across the economy, and usually lasts for several years. In both recessions and expansions, brief reversals in economic activity may occur-a recession may include a short period of expansion followed by further decline; an expansion may include a short period of contraction followed by further growth. The Committee applies its judgment based on the above definitions of recessions and expansions and has no fixed rule to determine whether a contraction is only a short interruption of an expansion, or an expansion is only a short interruption of a contraction. The most recent example of such a judgment that was less than obvious was in , when the Committee determined that the contraction that began in was not a continuation of the one that began in , but rather a separate full recession. The Committee does not have a fixed definition of economic activity. It examines and compares the behavior of various measures of broad activity: real GDP measured on the product and income sides, economy-wide employment, and real income. The Committee also may consider indicators that do not cover the entire economy, such as real sales and the Federal Reserve’s index of industrial production IP.

What are business cycles and how do they affect the economy?

Business cycles are the “ups and downs” in economic activity, defined in terms of periods of expansion or recession. During expansions, the economy, measured by indicators like jobs, production, and sales, is growing–in real terms, after excluding the effects of inflation. Recessions are periods when the economy is shrinking or contracting. During this period, the average business cycle lasted about five years; the average expansion had a duration of a little over four years, while the average recession lasted just under one year.

Business cycle dates are determined by the NBER dating committee under contract with the Department of Commerce. Typically, these dates correspond to​.

Nasty issues keep cropping up. That predicament is, more or less, why there may not be revelry for a rare achievement of the United States economy: 10 years of growth without a recession. That has happened only once before, during the long expansion that ended in March Instead, we are likely to see a sober anniversary, burdened by hypotheticals and gloomy predictions.

With a trade war, simmering income inequality, a disappointing jobs report and shaky markets affecting the mood, this may not be the perfect time to pop the corks. That careful formulation came from James Poterba, an M. The nonprofit research organization is the semiofficial arbiter of recessions and expansions in the United States. In an interview, Professor Poterba qualified that statement further. The closest the N.

That imprecision itself is why, even if we were so inclined, we could not mark our calendars for an anniversary party on any specific day. The N. We go as fast as we can. For example, the N. Professor Hall explained how the committee operates.

National Bureau of Economic Research

Was the United States technically in a recession the last few months? And is the recession already over? Additionally, the committee says quarterly economic activity peaked in the fourth quarter of Still, with economic growth taking place in the second quarter this year, the textbook definition of a recession cannot apply to A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough, the committee adds.

The NBER committee recognizes the fact that the usual definition of a recession differs from what it put forth in its June report.

most economists, including the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (​NBER) Business-Cycle Dating Committee, define a recession as a.

The recession is confirmed. The National Bureau of Economic Research reports ,. The committee has determined that a peak in monthly economic activity occurred in the U. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted months, the longest in the history of U. The previous record was held by the business expansion that lasted for months from March to March The committee recognizes that the pandemic and the public health response have resulted in a downturn with different characteristics and dynamics than prior recessions.

Nonetheless, it concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions. The Associated Press reports ,.

Most economists expect this recession to be both particularly deep and exceptionally short, perhaps just a few months, as states reopen and economic activity resumes. Robert Gordon, a Northwestern University economist and a member of the dating committee, said that he would bet a recovery started in April or May, meaning that the recession would likely last for only a couple of months.

The US economy is officially in recession

But we already knew that we were in a recession that had likely begun around that date. So, why does the NBER’s formal declaration matter? It is no secret that measures of employment fell sharply from February to March. Real inflation-adjusted personal consumption expenditure PCE and real personal income before transfers both peaked in February as well. Official measures of GDP are released only quarterly, but the economic free-fall in late March was enough to pull first-quarter GDP growth down to an annualised rate of

For more information, see the latest announcement from the NBER ‘ s Business Cycle Dating Committee, available from

That the COVID pandemic would trigger a recession in the United States and across the world was long seen as an inevitability, given the disastrous effect the virus has had on global trade, domestic consumption, unemployment and everyday economic activity. Now, the National Bureau of Economic Research—a private non-profit research firm that traditionally declares the start and end of a recession—has come out with an official verdict: The United States entered into a recession in February. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June and the beginning of a recession.

The expansion lasted months, the longest in the history of U. Second, we place considerable emphasis on the monthly business cycle chronology, which requires consideration of monthly indicators. In April, the US unemployment rate peaked at

The NBER’s Recession Dating Procedure

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Moreover, the speed of the announcement was unusually fast. Data during normal downturns are often tricky to interpret in real time and are often revised. The NBER waited until the end of April —which turned out to be after the early s downturn had already ended—to conclude the economy had topped out in July That would be a disaster, especially for the tens of millions of Americans who had only just gotten their finances in decent shape after the last downturn.

The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a.

Read more: What is a recession? Here are the basics. The committee said that it had determined that economic activity had peaked in February, citing sharp drops in employment and personal consumption following that month. The recession declaration ended the month economic expansion that began in June , which eclipsed the s recovery as the longest on record.

Since the first cases of Coronavirus took form in the United States, over 42 million Americans have lost their jobs and turned to unemployment benefits. Stay-at-home measures and businesses closures have halted economic activity on an unprecedented scale. On production, GDP figures have yet to be published for the quarter covering the brunt of the pandemic. But the NBER said monthly readings on real personal consumption measures appeared to confirm that the U.

The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee

This report is also available as a PDF file. The committee reviewed the most recent data for all indicators relevant to the determination of a possible date of the trough in economic activity marking the end of the recession that began in December The trough date would identify the end of contraction and the beginning of expansion.

Dates at Business Cycle Peaks. s by the NBER and CODACE Business Cycle Dating Committees, respectively; all other business cycle reference dates.

The chronology identifies the dates of peaks and troughs that frame economic recessions and expansions. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion. Expansion is the normal state of the economy; most recessions are brief.

However, the time that it takes for the economy to return to its previous peak level of activity or its previous trend path may be quite extended. According to the NBER chronology, the most recent peak occurred in February , ending a record-long expansion that began in June , and inaugurating a recession. The NBER’s traditional definition emphasizes that a recession involves a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and lasts more than a few months.

In our modern interpretation of this definition, the committee treats the three criteria—depth, diffusion, and duration—as at least somewhat interchangeable. That is, while each criteria needs to be met individually to some degree, extreme conditions revealed by one criterion may partially offset weaker indications from another. For example, in the case of the February peak in economic activity, the committee concluded that the drop in activity had been so great and so widely diffused throughout the economy that the downturn should be classified as a recession even if it proved to be quite brief.

In choosing the dates of business-cycle turning points, we follow standard procedures to assure continuity in the chronology. Because a recession must influence the economy broadly and not be confined to one sector, we emphasize economy-wide measures of economic activity.

The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Procedure: Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Committee Define a Business Cycle? See Methodology. What data does the Committee use? See Data Sources. How is the Committee’s membership determined?

The committee reviewed the most recent data for all indicators relevant to the determination of a possible date of the trough in economic activity.

The committee has determined that a peak in monthly economic activity occurred in the U. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted months, the longest in the history of U. The previous record was held by the business expansion that lasted for months from March to March The committee also determined that a peak in quarterly economic activity occurred in Q4. Note that the monthly peak February occurred in a different quarter Q1 than the quarterly peak.

The committee determined these peak dates in accord with its long-standing policy of identifying the months and quarters of peak activity separately, without requiring that the monthly peak lie in the same quarter as the quarterly peak.

Macroeconomics – Chapter 21: Economic Growth, the Financial System, and Business Cycles