Are We Still in Recession?

Why hasn’t the NBER dated the end of the recession for 2Q or 3Q 2009? Could it be that they think it possible the recession is continuing?

Later I read an interesting piece at Calculated Risk that concludes it is possible that the recession could still be in progress.

But let me address my own question. There have been four recessions before the current one that the NBER has timed in “real time”, starting with the 1980-81 recession. The delays from the eventual end dates until the declaration was made were as follows:

  • 1981 delay 12 months
  • 1982 delay 9 months
  • 1991 delay 20 months
  • 2001 delay 19 months

So, if the recession ended in June 2009, we have only seen the passage of 13 months and there is no reason to expect the official call would have been made already. Based on the admittedly small sample size, we should start to discount the end of the recession in June, 2009 if the date has not been called by January, 2011

John Lounsbury

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