The official arbiters of U.S. recessions look at six monthly indicators in determining whether the nation is indeed in a downturn — and they’re not flashing red.
The National Bureau of Economic Research’s business-cycle dating committee rejects the notion that two negative quarters of gross domestic product is the definition of a recession. Instead, it looks at indicators ranging from consumption to jobs to industrial activity.
“There is currently a conflict between the robust growth of payroll employment and the modest declines in some other monthly indicators,” said Robert Gordon, a Northwestern University professor and member of the committee. He doesn’t comment on his view of recession.
On Thursday, government data showed gross domestic product fell at a 0.9% annualized rate in the second quarter after a 1.6% drop in the first three months of the year. Some economists consider that as an informal rule of thumb indicating a possible recession.
In the gallery above is a rundown of the six data points.