June 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. economy ended its longest expansion in history in February and entered recession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the private economics research group that acts as the arbiter for determining U.S. business cycles said on Monday.
The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research said in a statement its members “concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions.”
The designation was expected, but notable for its speed, coming a mere four months after the recession began. The committee has typically waited longer before making a recession call in order to be sure. When the economy started declining in late 2007, for example, the group did not pinpoint the start of the recession until a year later.
The speed of the recovery will be important in determining whether the current recession has the same lasting impact as past downturns. The 2007 to 2009 recession, for example, was associated with a permanent loss of several hundred thousand blue-collar manufacturing jobs, sustained long-term unemployment, and years of weak wage growth for middle- and lower-income families.
The U.S. Federal Reserve meets this week, and officials will issue new economic projections that show how quick a recovery they expect.