By one benchmark, a recession occurs whenever the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, declines for two consecutive quarters. The GDP turned negative in the July-September quarter of this year, and many economists believe it is falling in the current quarter at an even sharper rate.
But the [National Bureau of Economic Research]‘s dating committee uses broader and more precise measures, including employment data. In a news release, the group said its cycle dating committee held a telephone conference call on Friday and made the determination on when the recession began.
The problem is that we don’t know a recession is happening until after it’s begun. Unless you ascrobe to a quote I read last week (where, I don’t know. Sorry) that went something like “You know you’re in a recession when politicians tell you the economy is fundamentally sound.”