Did the Recession End 15 Months Ago?
By Arnold Kling
Employment declined by nearly one million workers in the four months after the supposed end of the recession. Even now, it is not clear that a recovery has started. To say that the recession ended 15 months ago is to tell a misleading story.
I have gotten so used to not thinking of economic activity as spending that I am totally blowing off the fact that GDP has been increasing for the past year. Instead, I focus on patterns of sustainable specialization and trade, which I think are better indicated by employment. We are still seeing employment growth that is below the trend rate of increase in the labor force, so the way that I think about it, we are still in a recession.
I raised exactly the same issue in August of 2003, when the NBER had pronounced that the previous recession ended in November of 2001. You could take that essay, change a few dates, update the numbers, and pretty much print it verbatim today.