Report: The Recession Is Over

WASHINGTON -- The longest recession the country has endured since World War II ended in June 2009, a group that dates the beginning and end of recessions declared Monday.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, a panel of academic economists based in Cambridge, Mass., said the recession lasted 18 months. It started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Previously the longest postwar downturns were those in 1973-1975 and in 1981-1982. Both of those lasted 16 months.
The decision makes official what many economists have believed for some time, that the recession ended in the summer of 2009. The economy started growing again in the July-to-September quarter of 2009, after a record four straight quarters of declines. Thus, the April-to-June quarter of 2009, marked the last quarter when the economy was shrinking. At that time, it contracted just 0.7 percent, after suffering through much deeper declines. That factored into the NBER's decision to pinpoint the end of the recession in June.
Any future downturn in the economy would now mark the start of a new recession, not the continuation of the December 2007 recession, NBER said. That's important because if the economy starts shrinking again, it could mark the onset of a "double-dip" recession. For many economists, the last time that happened was in 1981-82.
To make its determination, the NBER looks at figures that make up the nation's gross domestic product, which measures the total value of goods and services produced within the United States. It also reviews incomes, employment and industrial activity.
The economy lost 7.3 million jobs in the 2007-2009 recession, also the most in the post World War II period.
The NBER normally takes its time in declaring a recession has started or ended.
For instance, the NBER announced in December 2008 that the recession had actually started one year earlier, in December 2007.
Similarly, it declared in July 2003 that the 2001 recession was over. It actually ended 20 months earlier, in November 2001.
Its determination is of interest to economic historians -- and political leaders. Recessions that occur on their watch pose political risks.
In President George W. Bush's eight years in office, the United States fell into two recessions. The first started in March 2001 and ended that November. The second one started in December 2007.
NBER's decision means little to ordinary Americans now muddling through a sluggish economic recovery and a weak jobs market. Unemployment is 9.6 percent and has been stuck at high levels since the recession ended.
Many will continue to struggle.
Unemployment usually keeps rising well after a recession ends. Four months after the 2007 downturn ended, unemployment spiked to 10.1 percent in October 2009, which was the highest in just over a quarter-century. Some economists believe that marked the high point in joblessness. But others think it could climb higher -- perhaps hitting 10.3 percent by early next year.

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  • by Steven Location: Jackson on Sep 22, 2010 at 11:03 PM
    Well, at least things are back to normal in Jackson County.
  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Sep 22, 2010 at 11:10 AM
    Hey "Anonymous" (9/21, 6:59 am), REALLY?!? Put the crack pipe down and step away from the computer!! I love how it's always got to end up with "Let's play the 'Blame the Democrats for Everything Horrid that Ever Happens in this World' game!" Oh yeah, 'cause the Republicans NEVER make fiscal mistakes, and the Democrats have this incredible power and ability to run whole economies right into the ground, like magic. Nope, the Republicans never have their dirty little fingers in any money pies, not caring what happens to the have-nots. You're an ignorant jerk; now go hop back up on your elephant and head on outta here! As usual, a spouter with nothing useful coming out of their head; just more "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah".
  • by Anonymous on Sep 21, 2010 at 03:59 AM
    It is interesting that they reported the previous two biggest recessions were during times that democrats had control of the house and the senate.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 20, 2010 at 02:45 PM
    These guys must be smoking dope!!!! Hey WILX why do you guys running these's story's? To get everybody fired up.
  • by Richard S. Location: Hillsdale on Sep 20, 2010 at 01:08 PM
    All one has to do is take a look at the rush to purchase precious metals by individuals and governments, and the increasing value of gold and silver. With all of the paper money floating around the depression is only getting started. As the debt is monetized the value of a dollar goes down, and down, and down, and the cost of goods goes up, and up, and up. Ask any shopper if prices are substantially higher now than at the beginning of the year. Ask them if they are living better now (or at least as well) as they did ten months ago. As basic needs increase in cost the ability to purchase those items that are not necessities goes down. And the jobs go down with them. I agree, if times got better a year ago, why wait until now to spread the good news? As they say south of the border, reports like this one that the recession is over are nothing but El Toro Ca-Ca.
  • by Lee on Sep 20, 2010 at 12:49 PM
    Bull! Thats the best clean word I can think of. Tell that to the people who got evicted today, drove down Cedar, and between Saginaw and Shiawassee the whole side of Cedar was peoples stuff on the curb, because they were evicted. Tell these people the recssion is over. Where are the jobs, when can I get a raise? When can we stop worrying about bills, and if we still have jobs? These politicans need a dose of reality.
  • by Tim Location: Lansing on Sep 20, 2010 at 12:31 PM
    This is absolutely one of the funniest things I've heard all year!! Anyone who believes this has several screws loose. More false data from our ILLustrious government.
  • by Sandi on Sep 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM
    and I just saw a pig fly over my desk. As long as over 15 million americans are still out of work, it is not over.
  • by non anonymous on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:49 AM
    Propaganda.. failed Propaganda at that.
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Sep 20, 2010 at 10:06 AM
    Gosh, that's such a relief. Now, if I had a mind of mush and I believed everything that came from every little put-together political group, I'd be really excited by this news. Guess I'm just too much of a cynic because I question the validity of such a group, as well as their expertise. Then I also question the timing of their announcement. If it ended over a year ago, why not tell us then? Why wait until now? Oh, that's right! The November elections are right around the corner, and those wacky liberals want us to think the chaos they've caused is all over and done, and we don't have to think about it anymore, especially when casting our votes. More likely than not, this is nothing more than a thrown-together political group, creating and tossing out this information in the hopes that there are people out there who will actually believe it.
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