December 1, 2008

It’s official: U.S. now in a recession

The referees of the U.S. economy called the recession official Monday, saying the county's economic expansion ended a year ago, in December 2007.

The National Bureau of Economic Research said a conference call on Friday of the group's Business Cycle Dating Committee sealed the fate, officially.

The group, charged with tracking the economy's historic highs and lows, said the previous expansion lasted 73 months, starting in November 2001. The expansion period before that, lasting through the late 1990s, lasted 120 months.

The group noted the gross domestic product fell slightly in the fourth quarter of 2007,rose slightly in the next two quarters and fell again in the third quarter of 2008. The gross domestic income reached a peak in the third quarter of 2007, falling in the fourth quarter and the first quarter of 2008. It rose slightly in the second quarter this year, then fell again in the third quarter.

Both sets of data are tracked by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the reported noted.

Succinctly put, the committee determined that the decline in economic activity in 2008 met the standard for a recession, the report said.