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It’s Official: The Recession Began in March

Michael Rainey

The National Bureau of Economic Research announced Monday that the U.S. economy entered a recession in March, ending the nation’s longest expansion on record. Here’s the summary from the  report by the Business Cycle Dating Committee at NBER:

“The committee has determined that a peak in monthly economic activity occurred in the U.S. economy in February 2020. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June 2009 and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted 128 months, the longest in the history of U.S. business cycles dating back to 1854. The previous record was held by the business expansion that lasted for 120 months from March 1991 to March 2001.”

The announcement of the recession came relatively soon after its onset. Usually, the committee of economists waits to see how economic conditions develop over a longer period of time before determining that a recession has begun, but the current slowdown is clearly exceptional. The committee said “it concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions.”

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