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.

Latest Posts

Why Idaho’s Food Stamp Use Has Continued To Grow

Last year, 13.5 percent of Idahoans received food stamps, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  That works out to about 214,000 people. It’s an increase from 2010, when 12.5 percent of Idahoans were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In fact, as shown in the graph below, Idaho’s rate of food stamp use […]

Idaho’s Poverty Rate Continues Its Rise

Idaho’s poverty rate continued its upward climb in 2011, rising to 16.5 percent.  That’s higher than the national rate of people living in poverty, which grew to 15.9 percent. Put another way, more than 255,000 Idahoans lived below the federal poverty guideline last year. The state’s poverty rate has climbed each year since 2007, when […]

Idaho’s Latest Good News-Bad News Unemployment Report

At first glance, it’s good news.  Idaho’s unemployment rate ticked down yet another tenth of a percentage point in August, falling to a three-year low of 7.4 percent.  That’s better than the national rate of 8.1. But, like the nation as a whole, Idaho is now facing an unhappy trend: its labor force is also […]

Idaho Incomes Fall For Third Year In A Row

Census data released today paint a picture of the recession’s lasting impact in Idaho. The state’s median household income has dropped considerably since 2008, when half of Idahoans earned more than $47,576 and half earned less.  In 2011, median income continued its retreat, falling to $43,341.  That’s a nearly 9 percent drop. Source: U.S. Census […]

Boise Economy Shows Relative Strength In Shaky Recovery

Early this year, as a signs of economic recovery faded into yet another spring slump, Boise for the most part held its ground. That’s the main local takeaway from the Brookings Institution’s current Metro Monitor report, which sizes up the health of urban economies from April through June. Idaho’s unemployment rate held steady during that […]

In One Year, Idaho’s Foreclosure Rate Posts A 60 Percent Drop

Idaho’s foreclosure rate was the fifth highest in the nation when housing data provider RealtyTrac released its numbers at this time a year ago.  At that time, John Starr of Collier’s International gave a folksy, downbeat description of the local foreclosure problem. “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting somebody who has been personally […]

Idaho’s DNC Delegates Include State Lawmakers, Tribal Leaders, Activists

Idaho’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention have wended their ways to Charlotte, N.C., where the convention gets underway today.  The delegate list includes prominent party members like Sen. Edgar Malepeai, from Pocatello, and Boise Mayor David Bieter, as well as a retired mailman, a teacher, an electrician, and the president of Idaho Young Democrats, […]

Idaho’s Foreclosure Problem: Better, But Still Here

A foreclosure counseling event in downtown Boise Wednesday offered a window into how homeowners are faring, years after Idaho’s foreclosure rate began to climb.  The basic message was this: we’re not out of the woods yet. In August 2011, Idaho’s foreclosure rate was the fifth highest in the nation, based on data from RealtyTrac.  But […]

California, Like Idaho, Benefits From Timber Exports

Last week StateImpact told the story of Idaho Forest Group’s Laclede mill, which experienced its first shutdown in decades when the housing bubble burst, decimating lumber demand.  The mill reopened thanks in large part to the company’s new focus on the export market. The Wall Street Journal this week reports that the export market is […]

How Traditional Japanese Homebuilding Reversed The Fortunes Of One Idaho Sawmill

Before the recession hit, the sawmill in the North Idaho town of Laclede was known for its reliability.  It had never seen a shutdown, not in Steve Spletstoser’s nearly 30 years of working there.  Then came 2008. “It was really eye-opening to see,” Spletstoser says.  “Your livelihood is hanging in the balance.”  Day after day, […]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »