The National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday determined that a peak in economic activity occurred in the U.S. in December 2007, and declared the U.S. economy officially in recession since that time. The December 2007 peak marked the end of the expansion that began in November 2001 and lasted 73 months; the previous expansion of the 1990s lasted 120 months.
A recession, as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research, is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in production, employment, real income, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion. Because a recession is a broad contraction of the economy, not confined to one sector, the National Bureau of Economic Research emphasizes economy-wide measures of economic activity when determining a recession.
"It's more accurate to say that a recession — the way we use the word — is a period of diminishing activity rather than diminished activity," the National Bureau of Economic Research said in a prepared statement.