Recession ended in June 2009: NBER

WASHINGTON Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:14pm EDT

A foreclosed home in California in a file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

A foreclosed home in California in a file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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Recession done in '09-NBER

Mon, Sep 20 2010

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The recession ended in June 2009, making it the longest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the National Bureau of Economic Research said on Monday.

The NBER, considered the arbiter of U.S. recessions, said its declaration did not mean the economy had "returned to operating at normal capacity" and cautioned that economic activity sometimes remains below normal well into expansion.

President Barack Obama, under pressure to speed up the pace of recovery and drive down unemployment as November congressional elections near, said the official end of the recession did not change the grim reality for many people.

"Economists may say that the recession officially ended last year," Obama said. "Obviously for the millions of people who are still out of work, people who have seen their home values decline, people who are struggling to pay their bills day to day, it's still very real for them."

The NBER's business cycle dating committee, a private sector group composed of academic economists, is notorious for taking its time in declaring the start and end of recessions.

The committee said it waited to make its decision this time because it wanted to review revised data on national income, released August 27, to get a clearer reading on the path of economic output in 2009.

After a meeting in April, some of the panel's members said they were concerned the economy could dip back into negative territory. In Monday's announcement, the NBER said any fresh downturn would mark a new recession, not a continuation of the one that began in December 2007.

"The basis for this decision was the length and strength of the recovery to date," the NBER said.

U.S. officials have been struggling to find a way to speed up a sluggish recovery that has left unemployment at a painfully high 9.6 percent. The U.S. Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee meets on Tuesday, and is widely expect to discuss whether additional measures are warranted to bolster the economy.

"Due to the lack of improvement in the labor market, particularly the stubbornly high unemployment rate, the recovery still feels like a recession to many households," said Harm Bandholz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Research in New York. "The NBER does not seem to be too enthusiastic about the economic outlook either."

(For NBER's statement, see: here)

(Reporting by Emily Kaiser; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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Comments (42)
Mott wrote:
Lacks credibility – where is the data showing return to normalcy?

Sep 20, 2010 11:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
garrisongold wrote:
“Heads”, the depression is over.

Evidently these people come to their conclusions with a coin toss. Do they draw a salary for this kind of nonsense?

Sep 20, 2010 11:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
txgadfly wrote:
Like most Government and quasi-Government institutions in our current form, these people consider all kinds of data relating to essentially non-American people and entities as “American”. Because they say so.

America is a place of people, not companies. The only American companies employ most of their people here in America, not counting import and retailing operations. There are not many of large or great size. The international and foreign companies’ earnings and financial condition simply are irrelevant to the USA. But then they fund our rulers, don’t they? Their interest is solely in America as a market to export to.

America is still deep in recession.

Sep 20, 2010 11:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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