Its Official: Recession Ended June 2009

The NBER has officially dated the end of the Great Recession June 2009:

The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. 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. (emphasis added)

No, we are not still in a recession as some people have asserted. No,its not a depression. The wheel has turned, the trough is more than a year behind us. This is not a robust recovery, but the economy is now expanding, not contracting.

If you are unsure of this, consider the charts of the 5 major economic factors the NBER considers in their dating criteria below:


Real GDP

Real Income

Industrial Production

Retail sales

Employment (NFP)

Note the last chart — NFP — it goes back to 2000 instead of 2004.  The NBER may have jumped the gun when they declared the recession over in November 2001; Employment did not bottom for another 2 full years!


The charts are from the nice folk at Economagic, who need to adjust their recession dating (I did it manually) Wow — that was fast!



NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee Announces Trough Date
Business Cycle Dating Committee
National Bureau of Economic Research, September 20, 2010

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