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Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.

A recession is a period of falling economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.

Identifying the date of the trough involved weighing the behavior of various indicators of economic activity.

The estimates of real GDP and GDI issued by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U. Department of Commerce are only available quarterly.

It places particular emphasis on measures that refer to the total economy rather than to particular sectors.

These include a measure of monthly GDP that has been developed by the private forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers, measures of monthly GDP and GDI that have been developed by two members of the committee in independent research (James Stock and Mark Watson, (available here), real personal income excluding transfers, the payroll and household measures of total employment, and aggregate hours of work in the total economy.

Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973--82, both of which lasted 16 months.

The average of real GDP and real GDI reached its low point in the second quarter of 2009.

In both the 2001- cycles, household employment also reached its trough later than the NBER trough date.

The committee noted the contrast between the June trough date for the majority of the monthly indicators and the October trough date for real personal income less transfers.

CAMBRIDGE September 20, 2010 - The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion.

At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II.

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Apart from a random statistical discrepancy, real GDI satisfies that equality while real personal income does not.