For several months, I had been getting increasingly curious about the fact that the St. Louis Fed’s FRED data and economic research service was no longer indicating a vertical “recession bar” from the period starting around mid-year 2009.  Finally, today, curiousity got the best of me and I called my St. Louis Fed contact.  This was his response (confirming what I’d already inferred):

Apparently the two staff economists that review the FRED charts believe July 2009 is the date they believe the NBER will announce as the end of the recession. From what I understand a similar “call” was made toward the end of the 1990-91 recession.

If  I was to highlight one source they used it would be Jeremy Piger’s (University of Oregon),  recession probabilities. He was a staff economist until about 4-5 years ago.

I’m not entirely sure I agree with their assessment, but do think it noteworthy that one of our Federal Reserve banks has apparently “called” a July 2009 end to the recession.  I should have inquired on this point sooner, but life got in the way.

FWIW.  Carry on.


Industrial Production Index (Series: INDPRO)

Total Nonfarm Payrolls: All Employees (Series: PAYEMS)

Category: Economy, Federal Reserve

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

21 Responses to “Dude, Where’s My Recession Bar?”

  1. sysin3 says:

    ha ha. I don’t think it’s even gotten started good yet.

  2. Ramstone says:

    It’ll be really uncomfortable for NBER to call the end of the 2007 recession when we’re in the middle of the 2010 recession.

  3. MayorQuimby says:

    Here’s some cold water for ya:

  4. Mike S says:

    Ramstone – my sentiments exactly.

    They are going to call the end in late q2 2010 as we begin a huge downward movement in the economy.

    This recovery is tepid – we’ve had exactly 1 month of job creation, and that was 4K jobs. A small citys worth of jobs.

    Tyler Cowen is always talking about how autistic people see the world more clearly in some ways – and that economists would do well to emulate this. Here is a perfect example of why autistic economics defies common sense.

    Until we are making large gains in the jobs market, any recover is bullshit. thats right, bullshit.

    Who cares if the economy is growing at 20% a year, if we are not adding jobs and the middle class isn’t making gains?

    Until we have a match between economics and what is happening in the middle class, our economic growth is going to be centered around slighly larger houses and marginally better cars, instead of pleasant and stress free living.

  5. jonpublic says:

    Here in Detroit a couple friends throw monthly party entitled Recession. Does this mean we have to change the name to Recovery?

  6. Denis says:

    Maybe they’ll add a big black bar in 2010, to identify when the official economic recession gives way to an official economic depression.

  7. flipspiceland says:

    And if the FED says it, it must be true.

    You’d think the FED by now, would have less credibility than Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, and, well, who has the LEASTEST cred in the world right now?

  8. Mannwich says:

    All is well, all is well. All is WELL Dammit!!!

  9. wally says:

    No names? Well, that preserves deniability.

  10. ashpelham2 says:

    When I see economic indicators improving, except for employment, the first thought that comes into my head is “We did it to ourselves.”

    Well, the actual first thought is “Where are those pictures of Kate Beckinsale?” But that thought is always in my head. The SECOND thought that come into my head is “We did it to ourselves.”

  11. Marcus Aurelius says:

    And constipation is cured by thinking good thoughts (never mind actually taking a shit). What’s that rumbling sound? Good advice: stand well clear of the fan.

  12. Transor Z says:

    We’re all Keynsians/Orwellians now.

    Job Posting #327518
    Ministry of Truth

    Department: Historical Revisions
    Position: Editor
    Federal Grade: G-1

    Minimum job requirements: Fluency in Newspeak, Ability to Doublethink, Deep abiding love for Big Brother

    Send applications to: Comrade O’Brien, Ministry of Love, Room 101

  13. freejack says:

    “…who has the LEASTEST cred in the world right now?”

    So you can list Tiger (current events), look right past the last 9 years, list Clinton (ancient history) and ask THAT question? Really?

  14. Ignim Brites says:

    Don’t know about the rest of the country but down here in Dallas looks like the recession ended about Jan 4. Been in the Whole Paycheck store every other day or so and the place is hopping. It’s hard to imagine that would be the case in a recession.

  15. holulu says:

    Do not worry, they will start drawing gray bars in Semptember.

  16. olephart says:

    Ignim Brites Says:

    Looking for a recession in Whole Foods is like looking for and honest banker on Wall Street. To find the recession you need to look at The Dollar Store in Oak Cliff.

  17. IdahoSpud says:

    I don’t know how to answer this question, so I will just ask it:

    Were they as quick to supply the “recession bar” without NBER official data as they were to remove it?

    Or is this yet another case of assymetric response to the economy on the part of the Fed?

  18. Ignim Brites says:

    Olephart@16-Jan-2010 11:47 disputes the relevance of the looking at traffic at Whole Foods as an indicator of the end of the recession. But the whole point of policy has been to alleviate the negative animal spirits, fear, anxiety, panic, and restore the positive animal spirits, greed, lust, optimism, of the propertied classes. Whole Paycheck is therefore an excellent indicator of the success of policy. The Great Recession has ended and the “Trickle Down” will be apparent shortly.

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