I’m feeling ill and would otherwise comment on this further.
The National Bureau of Economic Research says that a recession began in December 2007.
Economic growth in the first quarter of 2008 was 0.9%.
Economic growth in the second quarter of 2008 was 2.8%.
I could possibly accept a recession call if the second quarter came in at about the same level as the first. But it didn’t. Not even close.
As it is, the NBER is, to use a technical term, officially full of crap, and should once and for all become a national laughingstock. You can’t have nearly 3% growth in a quarter and claim that a recession remained in progress during the entire quarter. Double-dip? Maybe. Continuous recession? Forget it.
Keep in mind that I have been blaming the POR economy led by Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid for the recession that, while not yet official under the normal people definition, more than likely began in June. It would be very easy and politically convenient to retroactively shift the blame to P-O-R all the way back to December 2007, as that month was during the first quarter of the first budget the Pelosi-Reid Congress passed. But I’m not going to do it. Yes, they did some damage in the fourth quarter of 2007, but the economy bounced back, especially, as noted, in the second quarter.
That said, keep in mind that if you want me to surrender on when a recession began, I will also have to surrender on when the POR Economy began. Tempting, but I won’t.
UPDATE: Even with the qualifiers, the NBER has contradicted itself. This is from its official statement –
Q: Are there estimates of monthly real GDP?
A: Yes. 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 the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Macroeconomic Advisers aggregates them, and then uses a statistical procedure to adjust the monthly estimates for each quarter to make them consistent with the Commerce Department’s official quarterly figure. The monthly GDP numbers are fairly noisy and are subject to considerable revision. Estimated monthly real GDP reached one peak in January 2008 and another, higher peak in June 2008.
The existence or absence of a recession is all about whether an economy is smaller or larger, respectively. NBER acknowledges that the (imperfect) monthly GDP measurements were bigger in June 2008 than in January 2008, implying of course that they went down, but then up further, in between. This makes the beginnings of a case for a double-dip. Yet NBER has declared that a recession began in December 2007, and hasn’t stopped. This really is stuck on stupid.
Previous Post: As noted here 2-1/2 years ago (March 26, 2006 — On the Timing (and Existence) of the Last (2000-2001) Recession), NBER “somehow” changed its assessment of the timing of the last recession period after the fact. Originally, they had it pegged from July 2000 through March 2001. Then they changed it to March through November, 2001. As I said in the post: How convenient.