The St. Louis Fed has made it official, at least through their lens.  The recession ended in June 2009.  As you read here first in January, late last year the St. Louis Fed discontinued the use of  recession shading (thereby signalling its end) in its graphs as of mid-2009.

They have now retooled their Tracking the Recession page to Tracking the Economy, and the default graphs are indexed to 100 in July 2009 (the economy’s apparent trough).

The accompanying note states (emphasis mine):

The horizontal axis reports the months before and after the most recent business cycle turning point. In the recession chart of Figure 1, corresponds to December 2007 while in the expansion chart month zero corresponds to July 2009.

We’ll eventually see if the NBER agrees with their assessment.

There seems to be widespread consensus that the recession ended in mid-2009 (even perma-bear David Rosenberg has acknowledged as much in recent notes), and perhaps, on a technical basis, it did.  However, with employment and income gains virtually nonexistant, it’s certainly a tough sell to the American public.

Category: Cycles, Economy, Employment, Research

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.

24 Responses to “Read it here first: St. Louis Fed Tracks Nascent Expansion”

  1. tawm says:

    How do you spell J O B L E S S R E C O V E R Y in political economics terms?

  2. ChrisS says:

    That will continue to be a hard sell until the job numbers you referenced below show signs of any serious recovery.

  3. tagyoureit says:

    Great info!

    It definitely looks like the recession of industrial production ended 7/2009. Three cheers! Retail sales are not too bad hanging around average. Polite applause for that one.

    However, Income and employment appear to be still in recession. A tough sell indeed. Are we still marketing it as “The New Normal”? Not my favorite campaign for American hearts and minds.

    “Your income is declining and/or you lost your job? Don’t worry, that’s now considered normal. Wanna buy a house or car? We have some great incentives…”

  4. globaleyes says:

    Even after grabbing my magnifying glass, I could not see a recovery. But I did read it here first and now I know.

    But I was doing such a good job of adjusting to my new conditions, I wonder if I can handle the upcoming improvements.

    Am I the only cynical one ?

  5. Mike in Nola says:

    Amazing what clever definitions can do. It’s all better now.

    I guess next they will redefine unemplyment so there isn’t any.

  6. MayorQuimby says:

    These people have been completely wrong for what – eighteen years now?

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Fool me twelve times – I’m a complete stooge.

  7. troubled times says:

    St Louie fed !! Thats as good as Rob Rubin ! Al Greenspan ! Hey Sandy Weill said this ! The whole thing reminds me of Bivis & Buthead.

  8. MayorQuimby says:

    lol….lagging indicator.

  9. Marcus Aurelius says:

    What recession?

  10. Mannwich says:

    The Recoveryless Recovery rolls onward.

  11. rktbrkr says:

    As St Louis goes, so goes the nation…

  12. michaelismoe says:

    And the morons in DC wonder why the public hates them?

  13. vachon says:

    Unless a chart is going to hire 6 million people, it’s still a recession.

  14. philipat says:

    Fear Not! Soon we will all be happlily flipping burgers and creating useless financial products again.

  15. soulmatic09 says:

    They are calling an end to the recession that they never saw coming.


    I lost my job in May 2009. I sure wish the Fed called up my boss and let them know that every thing was going to be A-OK in 30 days; the recession was going to end! Jobs for everyone! Wooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

  16. Jonathan says:

    Excellent to hear! And here I was beginning to think we were still losing jobs….oh wait.

  17. bobby says:

    lol you guys kill me! recession? what recession? everything is fine—–
    BRB—the boss wants me in his office ASAP…hmmm I wonder why? all is well everywhere I look…

  18. foxmuldar says:

    Expect the rise in Unemployment to be blamed on Global Warming. After all GW caused this winters snowstorms, which was the excuse for last weeks weaker then expected numbers. February’s Unemployment number is also expected to be a doozy.

    The real reasons for the unemployment numbers remaining so high are as follows.

    Employers continue to get more production out of fewer employees.
    Employers are frozen in their tracks on the potential expenditures from Obamacare and Cap and Trade
    More business taxes are also hurting business.

    Here in Pa, business taxes are being hiked as a means to add some funds to a budget that is busting at the seams. Nothing was done to reign in the higher and higher pension payouts in the coming years.

    Believe it or not, this years Pennsylvania budget calls for an increase in spending of over $1 Billion. You would hope that when the state is billion in debt, they would at least find a way to cut spending but not with Rendel as Governor. Since Rendel has been Governor, spending has increased 42%.

  19. HEHEHE says:

    How many trillion dollars did the government throw at the economic collapse? For what? Two quarters of mediocre growth just to be able to say that the recession is “over”. This is right up there with “cash for clunkers” having solved our auto industry problem.

  20. toddenders says:

    Guys, the term ‘recession’ has nothing to do with unemployment. As I understand it, it has to do with GDP growth, and somewhere along the way, we started hearing the industrial production was a valid measure of human beings’ (as opposed to other legal persons’) well-being.

    A comparable politicization has happened at the Fed, where the two pieces of data that Ben “He who sees no data” Bernanke is staring at are 5%+ GDP growth and 3-5% inflation. We’ve been calling for a raise to rates to eliminate the tax on Americans’ nest eggs over at, and my team thinks Ben will move faster than consensus believes.

  21. cognos says:

    Toddenders — where do you see “3-5% inflation”? (I see negative inflation on “headline CPI” since July 2008. NEGATIVE.)

    Jobs are lagging. 1 year from now, unemployment will be >2% better than today. It will really start breaking back toward 5% in Q3 and Q4 of 2010. Classic recovery. This happens EVERY time. Jobs lag by about 1 year.

  22. cognos says:

    Toddenders — but I do love that you see 8-10% nominal GDP growth. That’s ALOT. Thats $1.3T in nominal GDP growth. Should drive >$300B in tax growth. Enormous debt and balance sheet improvement.

    But then the inflation story is hard to buy… how can we have inflation with large unemployment? (It makes no sense. Are house prices going to go up alot? Well housing is 1/3 of the consumption basket).

  23. wunsacon says:

    RECESSION OVER!!! Woohoo!! Applause all around for all you big spenders and your counter-cyclical spending. I knew we could do it.

    >> Expect the rise in Unemployment to be blamed on Global Warming.

    Uh, expect a rise in straw men and partisanship.

  24. Thatguy says:


    “Uh, expect a rise in straw men and partisanship.”

    Is this even possible?!?! They’ve been on a parabolic rise for at least a decade now. Is there any top to that market?