Some people assert when polls of the public indicate a majority think we’re in a recession, we’re in a recession, definitionally. Some people believe that when there are two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, we’re in a recession. Well, any given person can define a banana as a spherical fruit, but it is sometimes useful to define what a recession is, as defined by the scholars who coined the term, or who have been understood to be the arbiters of the term in quasi official terms. From the NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee FAQs webpage:

Q: What is the basic job of the Business Cycle Dating Committee?

A: The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee maintains a chronology of US business cycles. The chronology identifies the dates of peak and trough months in economic activity. The peak is the month in which a variety of economic indicators reach their highest level,

Keep reading this article on Econbrowser Blog - James Hamilton & Menzie Chinn.

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