The St. Louis Fed has made it official, at least through their lens. The recession ended in June 2009. As you read here first in January, late last year the St. Louis Fed discontinued the use of recession shading (thereby signalling its end) in its graphs as of mid-2009.
They have now retooled their Tracking the Recession page to Tracking the Economy, and the default graphs are indexed to 100 in July 2009 (the economy’s apparent trough).
The accompanying note states (emphasis mine):
The horizontal axis reports the months before and after the most recent business cycle turning point. In the recession chart of Figure 1, corresponds to December 2007 while in the expansion chart month zero corresponds to July 2009.
We’ll eventually see if the NBER agrees with their assessment.
There seems to be widespread consensus that the recession ended in mid-2009 (even perma-bear David Rosenberg has acknowledged as much in recent notes), and perhaps, on a technical basis, it did. However, with employment and income gains virtually nonexistant, it’s certainly a tough sell to the American public.