Bringing the Economy Home


Defining the Recession


Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images

The New York Times writes there is no official definition of a recession, and no official body to announce when one starts or ends.  Still, recessions are often described as two or more quarters of a declining gross domestic product (GDP).

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, non-partisan group based in Cambridge, Mass., does not define a recession based on declining GDP.

“Rather, a recession is a significant decline in 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.” – National Bureau of Economic Research

The NBER says the latest recession began December 1, 2007 and ended in June 2009.

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