Last ‘Recession’ Ended 7 Years Ago This Month

Terence P. Jeffrey | June 3, 2016 | 9:45am EDT
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(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

( - The last recession to hit the United States—the longest of any in the post-World War II period--ended seven years ago this month in June 2009, according to the dates assigned to it by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The NBER announced the date it had assigned to the end of the last recession in a report released Sept. 20, 2010.

In 2009, real GDP in the United States declined by 2.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Since 2009, according to BEA, real GDP has never grown by more than 2.5 percent, the level it hit in 2010. In the first quarter of this year, it grew at an annual rate of 0.8 percent.

The last year that real GDP grew by more than 3 percent, according to the BEA, was 2005, when it hit 3.3 percent. The last time that real GDP grew by more than 4 percent was 2000, when it hit 4.1 percent.

The last time it grew by more than 5 percent was 32 years ago in 1984, when it grew by 7.3 percent.

In its Sept, 20, 2010 report announcing its determination that the last recession had ended in June 2009, the NBER said:

“At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months.

“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. 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. Economic activity is typically below normal in the early stages of an expansion, and it sometimes remains so well into the expansion.

Prior to the last recession, the U.S. experienced a 73-month expansion, running from November 2001 to December 2007, according to the NBER. Before the recession that ran from March to November 2001, the U.S. experienced a 120-month expansion, which ran from March 1991 to March 2001.

In the years since World War II, according to NBER, the average recession has lasted 11.1 months and the average expansion has lasted 58.4 months.

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