Do you scoff whenever you hear an economist say the recession that began in December 2007 is over?
Well, then it may interest you that the experts who get to declare just when the economy is either mired in a downturn or growing again share your skepticism.
The "Business Cycle Dating Committee" at the private National Bureau of Economic Research says it has met and decided that "although most indicators have turned up ... the determination of the trough date on the basis of current data would be premature."
By "trough date," the committee means the month in which the economy hit bottom — meaning the end of the recession. And it needs to see positive signals from a wide variety of economic indicators (gross domestic product, employment, industrial production, etc.) before it will be satisfied that things really are on the upswing.
As The Associated Press says, "many private economists believed the recession ended in June or July last year."
Since there's often wisdom in the "collective" mind, we wonder:
We'll hold the question open for 48 hours. If you're interested in economic news, by the way, Planet Money might be the blog for you.