Chain Reactions

The Shortest Recession in History?

If a growing number of economists are to believed, the much-foretold recession of 2008 hasn't happened and probably won't happen. One economist, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, says, "The numbers we've seen recently haven't been as bad as we were led to believe just a few months ago."

The part in this article that jumps out me was this paragraph: "In February, Global Insight joined Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Merrill Lynch in declaring the U.S. to be in recession. Now, Global Insight's Brian Bethune says that while the firm is still forecasting a recession, "it's conceivable we could avoid it."

Huh? First we were in a recession, then maybe we might be headed for a recession, then maybe we won't ever see that recession -- talk about arguing about both sides of your mouth. Considering that the GDP actually grew in the first quarter and a recession requires at least two consecutive quarters of GDP decline, the earliest we could have a recession officially declared would be sometime around October... right around the time that the election campaigns hit their absolute peak of frenzy and rhetoric. If we get through the current quarter and there's still GDP growth, then all those politicians hoping to cash in a recession to bolster their chances of election will have to come up with a Plan B.

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