The official committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research says, “Yes.” The New York Times asked “Really?” Many bloggers answered “no.” I was one of them.

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.