Obama Recovery Now as Long as Average Post-WWII Recovery

May 5, 2014 - 5:30 PM

Barack Obama and Jobs

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

(CNSNews.com) - Assuming that the U.S. economy continued to expand in April—after real GDP grew at an annual rate of only 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014—then the economic recovery that the United States has been experiencing since the last recession ended in June 2009 is now 58 months long.

That would make it as long as the average economic expansion period in the post-World War II era, according to estimates made by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Since World War II, according to NBER, there have been 11 complete economic cycles, each with a period of expansion followed by a recession. The 12th post-World War II cycle began when the last recession ended and the current expansion started in June 2009.

Average Expansion in Post-WWII Era

The first eleven post-World War II expansion cycles were 58 months long on average, according to NBER. The longest expansion was the 120-month period from March 1991 to March 2001. The shortest was the 12-month expansion from July 1980 to July 1981.

Four of the post-World War II expansions have been longer than 58 months. Six have been shorter than 58 months. One--the expansion from March 1975 to January 1980--was exactly 58 months.

The most recent expansions have tended to be longer, with a 92-month expansion from November 1982 to July 1990, the 120-month expansion from March 1991 to March 2001 and a 73-month expansion from November 2001 to December 2007.

If the current expansion were to last as long as the last expansion, it would give way to a recession 15 months from April—or next July. If it were to last ten years, like the expansion cycle before the last one, the next recession would come in June 2019, in the third year of the next presidential term.

The NBER has estimated dates for each expansion and recession going back to the expansion that ran from December 1854 to June 1857. In the 160 years since 1854, the United States has never gone more than ten years without a recession.

“In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, 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 NBER said in a statement issued on Sept. 20, 2010. “Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month. A recession is a period of falling economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. The trough marks the end of the declining phase and the start of the rising phase of the business cycle.”