Recession Over???

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by misctrader, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. How can this be? 4M people are still out of jobs etc? I think the reason why jobless claims have gone down is because some people give up trying to look for a job.

    the gov't is smoking somethin'



    Recession ended in November 2001
    By Rex Nutting,
    Last Update: 12:31 PM ET July 17, 2003

    WASHINGTON (CBS.MW) -- The recession is officially over.

    The business cycle dating committee at the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded Thursday that the U.S. economic recession that began back in March 2001 ended the following November.

    "We don't take a stand on what's ahead, but this one is in the record books," said Robert Hall, an economics professor at Stanford University who has chaired the committee for more than 20 years.

    The recession was over before we knew it; the committee didn't declare the March 2001 beginning of the recession until Nov. 26, 2001.

    "In determining that a trough occurred in November 2001, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity," the committee of academic economists said in a statement.

    "Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month," it said.

    It's possible, though not likely, that the committee could conclude that the U.S. economy had entered another recession since November 2001 if the current slump were to worsen.

    The committee, considered the most authoritative historian of U.S. recessions and expansions, uses a variety of economic indicators to judge the peaks and valleys of economic activity, including quarterly gross domestic product estimates and monthly data on jobs, income, sales and output.

    Recently, the committee has put more weight on GDP, including monthly estimates produced by Macroeconomic Advisers, a private economic consulting firm founded by Larry Meyers, a former Federal Reserve governor.

    The committee defines a recession as a "significant decline in activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months." Recessions must be deep, durable and dispersed across most sectors and regions of the economy.

    In making its judgment, the committee noted that GDP has risen 3.3 percent above its peak in the fourth quarter of 2000. Incomes and sales have also exceeded their pre-recession peaks.

    Jobs, what jobs?

    However, employment and industrial output have not fully recovered. "Indeed, the most recent data indicate that employment has not begun to recover at all," the statement said.

    "It's a jobless recovery," Hall said.

    Even as the committee made it announcement, more jobs were being lost. Boeing (BA: news, chart, profile) said Thursday that it would cut 5,000 more jobs by the end of the year. See full story.

    Earlier Thursday, the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims have been above the 400,000 weekly level for 20 weeks, a signal that job destruction still outpaces job creation. The number of Americans receiving state unemployment checks is just below a 20-year high at 3.7 million, and more than 9.3 million people were classified as unemployed in May. See full story.

    The business cycle dating committee, headed by Hall, counts as its other members Martin Feldstein of Harvard, Robert J. Gordon of Northwestern, Christina D. Romer of California-Berkeley, David H. Romer of California-Berkeley, and Victor Zarnowitz of the Conference Board.

    Gregory Mankiw, the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, was a member of the committee until he joined the Bush administration.

    Hall said the committee is "scrupulously bipartisan" in its decisions. The group came under withering attack from the President Bush I in the 1992 campaign when it declined to declare the 1990-91 recession had ended in March 1991 until after the election.

    "We try very very hard to essentially ignore politics," Hall said.
  2. It's the definition of "recession". It refers to a certain # of quarters of negative growth (government speak for contraction). It has nothing to do with jobs or the unemployment rate and not being in a recession doesn't mean that the economy is booming.

    1% growth/year is still not a recession, but it doesn't create any jobs.

  3. I'm not going to say the government isn't "smoking somethin'" (it usually is). The NBER, however, is simply not the government; it's a private, nonprofit research organization.

    Point is, whether we like the call or not, we can't really blame Washington for this one.