Recession Declared Over as of June 2009

The National Bureau of Economic Research has confirmed what most economists have projected, that the recession technically has been over for more than a year now. The NBER is the self-proclaimed, official arbiter of recession timelines and made this statement yesterday:

At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months.

Nevertheless, it would be impossible to argue that the past year has been an economic boom. Rather we’ve seen the beginning period of a large trend in lethargic economic growth. Government spending won’t create a 10 percent annual GDP growth rate. And it will crowd out enough investment to keep the private sector from spurring a similar growth trend.

Furthermore, while we don’t have a solid study on it yet, since the stimulus cash didn’t start rolling until late spring 2009, and the recession ended a few months later, it could be possible that the stimulus had absolutely nothing to do with the end of the recession.