The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) met by conference call on Friday, November 28. The committee maintains a chronology of the beginning and ending dates (months and quarters) of U.S. recessions, and determined that a peak in economic activity occurred in the U.S. economy in December 2007. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in November 2001 and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted 73 months; the previous expansion of the 1990s lasted 120 months.
As of December 3, 2008 Moody's Economy.com believes the trough will occur in August 2009. Both the beginning and end dates of the current recession have been added to DataBuffet.com. Charts displaying recession bands for the U.S. will now include the current business cycle.
Note: The NBER does not use "two quarters of declining real GDP" as its definition of a recession. It employs multiple indicators to determine the contracting portion of a business cycle, of whatever length and depth. Details of the NBER's method are available in this December press release, and are discussed in our Dismal Scientist DataPoints blog under entries Frequently Asked and The Dating Game.