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Dating cycle

Dating cycle

The Business Cycle Dating Committee's general procedure for determining the dates of business cycles Q: The financial press often states the definition of a recession as two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP. How does that relate to the NBER's recession dating procedure?

Most of the recessions identified by our procedures do consist of two or more quarters of declining real GDP, but not all of them. In , for example, the recession did not include two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP. In the recession beginning in December and ending in June , real GDP declined in the first, third, and fourth quarters of and in the first quarter of Why doesn't the committee accept the two-quarter definition?

The committee's procedure for identifying turning points differs from the two-quarter rule in a number of ways. First, we do not identify economic activity solely with real GDP and real GDI, but use a range of other indicators as well. Second, we place considerable emphasis on monthly indicators in arriving at a monthly chronology. Third, we consider the depth of the decline in economic activity.

Recall that our definition includes the phrase, "a significant decline in activity. The differences between these two sets of estimates were particularly evident in the recessions of and How does the committee weight employment in determining the dates of peaks and troughs?

In the recession, the central indicators—real GDP and real GDI—gave mixed signals about the peak date and a clear signal about the trough date. The peak date at the end of coincided with the peak in employment. We designated June as the trough, six months before the trough in employment, which is consistent with earlier trough dates in the NBER business-cycle chronology. In the recession, we found a clear signal in employment and a mixed one in the various measures of output.

Consequently, we picked the peak month based on the clear signal in employment, as well as our consideration of output and other measures. In that cycle, as well, the dating of the trough relied primarily on output measures. Isn't a recession a period of diminished economic activity? 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. We identify a month when the economy reached a peak of activity and a later month when the economy reached a trough.

The time in between is a recession, a period when economic activity is contracting. The following period is an expansion. As of September , when we decided that a trough had occurred in June , the economy was still weak, with lingering high unemployment, but had expanded considerably from its trough 15 months earlier.

How do the movements of unemployment claims inform the Bureau's thinking? A bulge in jobless claims usually forecasts declining employment and rising unemployment, but we do not use the initial claims numbers in determining our chronology, partly because of noise in that data series. How do the cyclical fluctuations in the unemployment rate relate to the NBER business-cycle chronology? The unemployment rate is a trendless indicator that moves in the opposite direction from most other cyclical indicators.

Its level in February was the same 4. The NBER business-cycle chronology considers economic activity, which grows along an upward trend. As a result, the unemployment rate often rises before the peak of economic activity, when activity is still rising but below its normal trend rate of increase. Thus, the unemployment rate is often a leading indicator of the business-cycle peak.

For example, the unemployment rate reached its lowest level prior to the December peak of activity in May at 4. On the other hand, the unemployment rate often continues to rise after activity has reached its trough. In this respect, the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator. For example, in the recovery beginning in March , the unemployment rate continued to rise for 15 months after the trough.

The lag was 19 months in to In the current recovery, the lag was only 4 months, from the trough in activity in June to the highest level of the unemployment rate in October What data from the National Income and Product Accounts are used in the calculation of real personal income less transfers? Personal income comes from Table 2. Are there estimates of monthly real GDP? Macroeconomic Advisers, a consulting firm, prepares estimates of monthly real GDP. Many of the ingredients of the quarterly GDP figures are published at a monthly frequency by government agencies.

The monthly GDP numbers are noisy and are subject to considerable revision. Has the committee ever changed a cycle date? Since , when the Business Cycle Dating Committee was created, there have not been any changes to previously-announced business cycle turning points. Prior to , there were some revisions in turning points; see this article in the May Business Conditions Digest by Victor Zarnowitz and Charlotte Boschan. The BCDC would change the date of a past peak or trough if it concluded that the date it had chosen was incorrect.

Typically, how long after the beginning of a recession does the BCDC declare that a recession has started? After the end of the recession? The committee's determination of the peak date in December occurred 11 months after that date and the committee's action in determining the trough date of June occurred 15 months after that date. Earlier determinations took between 6 and 21 months. There is no fixed timing rule.

The committee waits long enough so that the existence of a peak or trough is not in doubt, and until it can assign an accurate peak or trough date. Does the NBER keep a record of when it announced the determination of the dates of peaks and troughs prior to those given in the Bureau's website? The Business Cycle Dating Committee was created in , and since then there has been a formal process of announcing the NBER determination of a peak or trough in economic activity.

Those announcement dates were: June 3, ; July 8, ; January 6, ; July 8, ; April 25, ; December 22, ; November 26, ; July 17, ; December 1, ; and September 20, During the period , the U. There was an informal notification process between the NBER researchers and the Commerce Department, followed by publication of turning point dates in Commerce Department publications.

The committee identifies the month when the trough occurred, without taking a stand on the date in the month. Thus, December is both the month when the recession began and the month when the expansion ended. Similarly, June is both the month when the recession ended and the month when the expansion began. Can you give some examples of how the NBER uses turning-point dates and describes the duration of expansions and contractions?

The first complete expansion of the current century started at the trough of the business cycle in November As of December , the expansion had lasted one month. The expansion ended at the peak of the business cycle in December Therefore, the expansion lasted 73 months, or six years and one month, from November to December Because the trough is the first month of the expansion see the preceding FAQ , it is called month one of the expansion.

Thus, the last month, December , is month The subsequent recession began at the peak of the business cycle in December and ended at the trough in June ; that recession lasted 18 months. December was the first month of the recession and June was the 19th month.

How does the BCDC's quarterly chronology relate to its monthly chronology? The Committee makes a separate determination of the calendar quarter of a peak or trough. Generally, the peak or trough quarter contains the peak or trough month. The most recent exception was in , when the month chosen was July but the quarter chosen was the second rather than the third quarter of the year. As with the monthly turning point dates, the Committee does not take a stand on the exact date within the quarter when the turning point occurred.

Does the NBER identify depressions as well as recessions in its chronology? The NBER does not separately identify depressions. The NBER business cycle chronology identifies the dates of peaks and troughs in economic activity. We refer to the period between a peak and a trough as a contraction or a recession, and the period between the trough and the peak as an expansion. The term depression is often used to refer to a particularly severe period of economic weakness.

Some economists use it to refer only to the portion of these periods when economic activity is declining. The more common use, however, also encompasses the time until economic activity has returned to close to normal levels. The most recent episode in the United States that is generally regarded as a depression occurred in the s.

The NBER determined that a peak in economic activity occurred in August , and that a trough occurred in March Both the contraction starting in and that starting in were very severe; the one starting in is widely acknowledged to have been the worst in U. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, real GDP declined 27 percent between and , roughly five times as much as in the worst postwar recession.

If the term Great Depression is used to mean the period of exceptional decline in economic activity, it refers to the period from August to March If it is used to also include the period until economic activity had returned to approximately normal levels, most economists would judge that it ended sometime in or Does the concept of a double-dip recession exist in the NBER's business cycle chronology?

The NBER does not define a special category called a double-dip recession. Two periods of contraction will be either two separate recessions or parts of the same recession. The main criteria that the committee applies to determine whether a downturn following one business cycle peak and apparent trough is a separate recession or the continuation of the earlier one are the duration and strength of the upturn after the initial trough. For example, the committee's determination that the recession that began in was separate from the one that began in was based in part on the extent to which major economic indicators bounced back in late and early Since its inception in , the committee has not encountered any other episode that involved two consecutive contractions.

The committee does not apply fixed formulas in this and other determinations, but rather forms judgments based on the underlying concepts of recessions and expansions and the goal of preserving historical continuity in the NBER business cycle chronology.

Dating cycle

There was an informal notification process between the NBER researchers and the Commerce Department, Dating cycle, followed by publication of turning point dates in Commerce Department publications. The subsequent recession began at the peak of the business cycle in December and ended at the trough Dating cycle June ; that recession lasted Dating cycle months. Digital Abuse: Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. It should also enforce protective orders or school based alternative including counseling for affected students. The financial press often states the definition of a recession as two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP, Dating cycle. SB of Va. Prior tothere were some revisions in turning points; see this article in the May Business Conditions Digest by Victor Zarnowitz and Charlotte Boschan.