Monday, December 1, 2008

Panel: U.S. Recession Began A Year Ago

The National Bureau of Economic Research panel said today the U.S. economy fell into a recession last year. The panel's group of academic economists who determine business cycles met and decided that the U.S. recession began in December 2007.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan NBER is the official source to determine when U.S. recessions begin and end. Many economists believe the current downturn will last until the middle of 2009 and will be the most severe slump since the 1981-82 recession.

Stocks Fall Sharply Amid Dour Economic News

Wall Street is down sharply Monday amid a pair of downbeat economic reports. The Dow has been down between 350 and 450 points for much of the day's trading.

Investors were already selling stocks lower on concerns about the holiday shopping season before the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said its index of manufacturing activity fell to a 26-year low in November.

The reading of 36.2 from the Institute for Supply Management's monthly survey of manufacturing activity is below October's 38.9. It is also worse than Wall Street economists' expectations of 38.4 as measured by a survey by Thomson Reuters. A reading below 50 indicates the sector is contracting.

The ISM said the November figure is the lowest since May 1982 when the economy was in the midst of a painful recession. At the same time, the Commerce Department said construction spending fell by 1.2 percent in October, much bigger than the 0.9 percent decline that many analysts had expected.

The weakness was led by another sizable drop in home construction, which has fallen every month but two over the past 2½ years. Nonresidential building also weakened as developers face tougher times getting financing because the banking system is going through a severe credit squeeze.

Both the housing and manufacturing sectors have been suffering for some time, so the reports were ultimately unsurprising. Wall Street is concerned that consumers, by curtailing their spending further, won't be able to help lift the economy from its slump. The market is coming off last week's strong performance, amid indications that the start of the holiday shopping season went better than expected for retailers.


National Bureau of Economic Research

1 comment:

Mberenis said...

In a recession, it isn't always bad. Most people don't realize how much money there is out there. During economic times like this, there is more money to be had than ever. Because of the bailouts and economy, lenders are bending over backwards to bail you out too. Believe it or not, there is people getting tons of cheap money nowdays to start businesses, buy homes, pay off debt, and more. Recession Bailouts for YOU