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Dude, Where’s My Recession Bar?

Posted By Invictus On January 15, 2010 @ 1:15 pm In Economy,Federal Reserve | Comments Disabled

For several months, I had been getting increasingly curious about the fact that the St. Louis Fed’s FRED [1] 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 [2]. 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 [3])


Total Nonfarm Payrolls: All Employees (Series: PAYEMS [5])


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URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/01/dude-wheres-my-recession-bar/

URLs in this post:

[1] St. Louis Fed’s FRED: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/

[2] recession probabilities: http://www.uoregon.edu/~jpiger/us_recession_probs.htm

[3] INDPRO: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/INDPRO

[4] Image: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/INDPRO_Max_630_3781.png

[5] PAYEMS: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?chart_type=line&s[1][id]=PAYEMS&s[1][range]=5yrs

[6] Image: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Payems-5-yr.png

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