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business cycle - Investment & Finance Definition
A long-term pattern of improvements and downturns in the economy. A business cycle typically has four stages: expansion, prosperity, contraction, and recession. Eventually a recession will be followed by expansion. A business cycle typically is tracked by looking at gross domestic product data. Employment levels, retail sales, and industrial productivity are some of the other economic indicators that show whether a business cycle is shifting from one stage to another. Business cycles may also be used in reference to an industry or company.