Pandemic recession ended in April 2020 and was shortest on record, economic authority announces

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Last year’s recession was the shortest in U.S. history, lasting just two months, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced Monday.

The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the bureau, which is not a government entity but is regarded as an authority on the matter, examined economic activity over the course of the pandemic and found that the country was in a recession during March and April of 2020, but began a recovery the next month.

The group pointed out that it does not analyze the exact start and end dates for recessions but rather assesses the first month of a recession to be the month following an economic peak and the last month to be the month when the economy was at its trough.

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“In determining that a trough occurred in April 2020, the committee did not conclude that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity,” the NBER said in a news release, adding that economic activity is typically below average in the early stages of an expansion and sometimes can remain below normal well into the expansion.

NBER said that any future economic downturn would mark a new recession and would not be considered a continuation of the first recession.

The group said that while its traditional definition of a recessed economy involves more than a few months of economic downturn, the COVID-19 pandemic was different because of its duration but still a recession given the “unprecedented magnitude” of the decline in production and employment.

The previous record for shortest recession was a six-month period in 1980, according to the bureau.

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While the economy and gross national product have grown leaps and bounds as more people get vaccinated, there are now some industries that are seeing shortages in labor. There are also steadily growing concerns about too-high inflation and the possibility that the Federal Reserve might have to pump its brakes and hike interest rates, which could cause economic distress.

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