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I saved this from Saturday’s Off the Charts column by Floyd Norris:
THE American recession appears to be nearing an end, but only after it has become the deepest downturn in more than half a century.
The index of leading indicators, which signals turning points in the economy, is rising at a rate that has accurately indicated the end of every recession since the index began to be compiled in 1959.
The index was reported this week to have risen for the third consecutive month in June, and to have risen at a 12.8 percent annual rate over those three months. Such a rise, pointed out Harm Bandholz, an economist with UniCredit Group, “has always marked the end of the contraction.” Mr. Bandholz said he expected that the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official arbiter of American economic cycles, would eventually conclude that the recession bottomed out in August or September of this year.
Why isn’t the Conference Board ready to declare the recession over? The index of coincident indicators — now down for eight consecutive months (down 17 of the last 19 months). That indicator is often used by the National Bureau of Economic Research in making dating decisions, and its failure to stabilize is likely why we haven’t seen any declaration that the downturn is officially over yet.
Leading Indicators Are Signaling the Recession’s End
NYT, July 24, 2009