The NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee
The unofficial beginning and ending dates of recessions in the United States have been defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research NBERan American private nonprofit research organization. The NBER defines a recession nber business cycle dating "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economylasting more than two quarters which is 6 months, normally visible in real gross domestic nber business cycle dating GDPreal income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales".
There have been as many as 47 recessions in the United States sinceand although economists and historians dispute certain 19th-century recessions,  the busines view among economists and historians is that "The cyclical volatility of GNP and unemployment was daing before the Great Depression nusiness nber business cycle dating has been since the end of World War II. In the 19th century, recessions frequently coincided with financial crises.
Determining the occurrence of preth-century recessions is more difficult due to the dearth of economic statisticsso scholars rely on cycpe accounts of economic activity, such as contemporary newspapers or business ledgers. Although the NBER does not date recessions beforeeconomists customarily extrapolate dates of U. Their work is aided by historical patterns, in that recessions often follow external shocks to the economic system such as wars and variations in the weather affecting agriculture, as well as nber business cycle dating crises.
Major modern economic statistics, such as unemployment and GDP, were not compiled on a regular and standardized basis until after World War II. The average nber business cycle dating of the nberr recessions between and is 10 months, compared to 18 months for recessions between andand 22 months for recessions from to Attempts have been made to date recessions in America beginning in These periods of recession were not identified until the s.
To construct the dates, researchers studied business annals during the period and constructed time series of the data. The earliest recessions for which there is the most certainty are those that coincide with major financial crises. Beginning inan index of business activity by the Cleveland Trust Company provides data for comparison between recessions. Beginning inthe National Bureau of Economic Research dates recession peaks and troughs to the month. However, a standardized index does not exist for the buskness recessions.
InCongress chartered the First Bank of the United States to handle the country's financial needs. In the bank's charter lapsed, but it was replaced by the Second Bank of the United Stateswhich lasted from — In the s, U. President Andrew Jackson fought to end the Second Bank of the United States. Following the Bank Warthe Second Bank lost its charter in From tothere was no national presence in bankingbut still plenty of state and even local regulation, such as laws against branch banking which prevented diversification.
Inin response to financing pressures of the Civil War, Congress passed the Datting Banking Actcreating nationally chartered banks. There was neither a central bank nor deposit insurance during this era, and thus banking panics were common. Recessions often led to bank panics and financial crises, which in turn worsened the recession. The dating of recessions during this period is controversial.
Modern economic statistics, such as gross domestic product and unemployment, were not gathered during this period. Victor Zarnowitz evaluated ner variety of indices to measure the severity of these recessions. From toone measure of recessions is the Cleveland Trust Company index, which measured business activity and, beginning inbusniess index of trade and industrial activity was available, which can be used to compare recessions.
Following the end of World War II and the large adjustment as the economy adjusted from wartime to peacetime inthe collection of many economic nber business cycle dating, such nber business cycle dating unemployment and GDP, became standardized. Recessions after World War II may be compared to each other much more easily than previous recessions because of these available data. The listed dates and durations are from the official chronology of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Note that the unemployment rate often reaches a peak associated with a recession after the recession has officially ended. No recession of the post-World War II era has come anywhere near the depth of the Great Depression. The National Bureau of Economic Research dates recessions on a monthly basis back to nber business cycle dating according to their chronology, from tothere were 16 cycles.
The average recession lasted 22 months, and the average expansion From tothere were six cycles; recessions lasted an average 18 months and expansions for From toand 10 cycles, recessions lasted an average 10 months and expansions an average of 57 months. See Post-World War II economic expansion for further discussion. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved February 29, Retrieved October nber business cycle dating, The Results of a Survey on Forty Propositions".
The Journal of Economic History. The current consensus is that the volatility of GNP and unemployment were greater before the Businezs Depression than they have been since the end of World War II. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Archived from the original on September 25, Retrieved October 1, The American Business Cycle: The Panic of and the Hard Times of the Late s in Baltimore". Journal of the Early Republic.
The Great Republic By the Master Historians- Volumes I, II, III, IV. The Panic of and the Coming of the Civil War. Louisiana State University Press. A Short History of Reconstruction. Business cycles and depressions: The Journal of Political Economy. Archived from the original on April 27, Retrieved October 5, The Panic of Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm.