The Longest Expansion In History Is Officially Over: The US Entered Recession In February, NBER Finds

Monday, June 8, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Mon, 06/08/2020

While it should hardly come as a surprise to anyone who can fog a mirror, The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research – the official arbiter of whether America is in recession or not – has issued a statement confirming that February 2020 marks the end of the expansion that began in June 2009 and the beginning of a recession. .

This was the longest period of economic expansion in US history at 128 months…

The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research maintains a chronology of the peaks and troughs of U.S. business cycles. The committee has determined that a peak in monthly economic activity occurred in the U.S. economy in February 2020. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June 2009 and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted 128 months, the longest in the history of U.S. business cycles dating back to 1854. The previous record was held by the business expansion that lasted for 120 months from March 1991 to March 2001.

The committee also determined that a peak in quarterly economic activity occurred in 2019Q4. Note that the monthly peak (February 2020) occurred in a different quarter (2020Q1) 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. Further comments on the difference between the quarterly and monthly dates are provided below.

A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in production, employment, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.

Because a recession is a broad contraction of the economy, not confined to one sector, the committee emphasizes economy-wide indicators of economic activity. The committee believes that domestic production and employment are the primary conceptual measures of economic activity.

The Month of the Peak

In determining the date of the monthly peak, the committee considers a number of indicators of employment and production. The committee normally views the payroll employment measure, which is based on a large survey of employers, as the most reliable comprehensive estimate of employment.

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