NBER finds recession began in February, ending record 128 months of economic expansion.

The recession is confirmed. The National Bureau of Economic Research reports,

The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research maintains a chronology of the peaks and troughs of U.S. business cycles. The committee has determined that a peak in monthly economic activity occurred in the U.S. economy in February 2020. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June 2009 and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted 128 months, the longest in the history of U.S. business cycles dating back to 1854. The previous record was held by the business expansion that lasted for 120 months from March 1991 to March 2001.

Commenting on the determination, NBER adds,

The usual definition of a recession involves “a decline in economic activity that lasts more than a few months.” However, in deciding whether to identify a recession, the committee weighs the depth of the contraction, its duration, and whether economic activity declined broadly across the economy (the diffusion of the downturn). The committee recognizes that the pandemic and the public health response have resulted in a downturn with different characteristics and dynamics than prior recessions. Nonetheless, it concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions.

The Associated Press reports,

Most economists expect this recession to be both particularly deep and exceptionally short, perhaps just a few months, as states reopen and economic activity resumes.

Economists contacted by AP suggest the nation may already be climbing out the recession.

Robert Gordon, a Northwestern University economist and a member of the dating committee, said that he would bet a recovery started in April or May, meaning that the recession would likely last for only a couple of months. Even so, he said, labeling it a downturn was not a hard choice “because of the extraordinary depth.”

“We’ve already seen signs that the economy is past the trough and is in the recovery phase,” said Matthew Luzzetti, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities.

Let’s hope so.