Nat’l Economists: Recession Ended in June 2009

A committee that dates the beginning and end of recessions said that the most recent recession began in December 2007 and lasted 18 months, making it the longest one since World War II.

The recession ended in June 2009, according to a Monday announcement by the National Bureau of Economic Analysis, whose business cycle dating committee dates the beginning and end of recessions.

The committee said that the recession began in December 2007 and lasted 18 months, making it the longest one since World War II. Before the most recent recession, the longest post-war recessions took place between 1973 and 1975 and between 1981 and 1982-both of which lasted 16 months.

The committee did not conclude that economic conditions since June 2009 have been favorable or that the economy has returned to “normal capacity.” It decided only that the recession ended and a recovery began that month-a determination that's based on the length and strength of the recovery to date.

The committee defines a recession as a period of falling economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real gross domestic product, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.

Public reactions to the committee's declaration have ranged from surprised to indignant.

President Barack Obama responded to the committee's Monday declaration by saying at a town hall-style meeting that for those without jobs or struggling to make ends meet, “it's still very real for us.”

“Something that took 10 years to create is going to take a little more time to solve,” Obama said at the meeting, which was broadcast live on CNBC.

The National Bureau of Economic Research is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based panel of academic economists.

-Christa Meland