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The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced yesterday that it has concluded that the US economy officially is in recession.

In fact, NBER said that the US has been in recession since December 2007…but that it only reached that conclusion last Friday and made public yesterday.

According to the NBER statement, “A recession 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.” The Bureau said that last December marked the end of an economic expansion that started in November 2001.

According to the New York Times this morning, “the downturn is already longer than the average for all recessions since World War II,” and is “likely to set a new postwar record for length and likely to be more painful than any recession since 1980 and 1981.” And as uncertain as most forecasters are about the length of the current recession, they are equally uncertain about its depth.

KC's View:
I, for one, am gobsmacked.

Though to be fair, while the economists have been dithering and debating about whether or not the nation has been in recession, consumers – and pretty much anyone else who could read headlines – has been operating under the impression that we were in a recessionary economy for most of the past year.