Jul 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

The recession officially ended in April 2020

Illustration of a stressed out businessman on a laptop sitting on a downward trending arrows
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. economic recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic officially ended in April 2020, the National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday.

By the numbers: The NBER initially said the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic began in February 2020, making this is the shortest recession on record.

Why it matters: While some define recessions as two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP, that measure is imprecise and lacks nuance.

  • The NBER considers changes in income, employment, retail sales, and industrial production in determining if there has been a "significant decline in economic activity."

What they're saying: "The NBER’s traditional definition of a recession involves a decline in economic activity that lasts more than a few months," the institution said in a statement.

  • "Nonetheless, the committee concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warranted the designation of this episode as a recession."
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