Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Pandemic Recession Ended Long Ago

Speaking of today's strong U.S. GDP release:

Question:  When the smoke clears and the Pandemic Recession ends, how will it stack up relative to its ancestors? 

Answer:  The smoke has already cleared -- the recession ended long ago -- and it was likely both the deepest and the shortest of all time.  

The NBER  chronology does not measure recession deepness, but ADS does, and it reveals that the Pandemic Recession is clearly the deepest U.S. recession since 1960 (and probably of all time, although ADS is calculated only from 1960).  The NBER chronology does measure recession duration, but the NBER has not yet announced the Pandemic Recession's ending date, so we don't know its ``official" duration.  But ADS is released in much more timely fashion than the NBER chronology, and ADS has long indicated a clear return to sustained positive growth by mid-May 2020 (as have other leading nowcasts, like the CFNAI).  This would make the Pandemic Recession not only the deepest recession at least since 1960, but also the all-time shortest, by a wide margin (presently the shortest is the six-month recession of early 1980).  In my view, any eventual claim that the recession ended later than May 2020 would be more an indication of reluctance to declare such a short recession than an unbiased assessment of economic reality.

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