An extended decline in general business activity. The National Bureau of Economic Research formally defines a recession as three consecutive quarters of falling real gross domestic product. A recession affects different companies in different ways. For example, companies selling consumer durables are affected to a greater extent than companies such as grocery stores that sell necessities.
An extended decline in general business activity. The National Bureau of Economic Research formally defines a recession as three consecutive quarters of falling real gross domestic product. A recession affects different securities in different ways. For example, holders of high-quality bonds stand to benefit because inflation and interest rates may decline. Conversely, stockholders of manufacturing firms will probably see company profits and dividends drop.
Case Study After nearly a year of falling commodity prices, rising unemployment, increasing personal and corporate bankruptcies, falling stock prices, and declining public confidence, the National Bureau of Economic Research made it official and on November 26, 2001, declared a recession. The announcement wasn't a surprise to hundreds of thousands of people who had lost their jobs and an even greater number of investors who had experienced substantial losses in the stock market. The bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee of six academic economists determined the recession commenced in March 2001, when economic activity stopped growing. Although many economists use declines in gross domestic product to define a recession, the NBER Dating Committee examined employment, industrial production, manufacturing and trade sales, and personal income. The country's last previous recession lasted eight months and ended in March 1991. The subsequent ten-year period of uninterrupted growth between March 1991 and March 2001 was the longest in America's history.