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The committee decided that any future downturn of the economy would be a new recession and not a continuation of the recession that began in December 2007.
The basis for this decision was the length and strength of the recovery to date.
The committee believes that these quarterly measures of the real volume of output across the entire economy are the most reliable measures of economic activity.
Second, in previous business cycles, aggregate hours and employment have frequently reached their troughs later than the NBER's trough date.
The committee waited to make its decision until revisions in the National Income and Product Accounts, released on July 30 and August 27, 2010, clarified the 2009 time path of the two broadest measures of economic activity, real Gross Domestic Product (real GDP) and real Gross Domestic Income (real GDI).
The committee noted that in the most recent data, for the second quarter of 2010, the average of real GDP and real GDI was 3.1 percent above its low in the second quarter of 2009 but remained 1.3 percent below the previous peak which was reached in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The committee places less emphasis on monthly data series for industrial production and manufacturing-trade sales, because these refer to particular sectors of the economy.
First, the strong growth of quarterly real GDP and real GDI in the fourth quarter was inconsistent with designating any month in the fourth quarter as the trough month.In particular, in 2001-03, the trough in payroll employment occurred 21 months after the NBER trough date.In 2009, the NBER trough date is 6 months before the trough in payroll employment.The trough marks the end of the declining phase and the start of the rising phase of the business cycle.Economic activity is typically below normal in the early stages of an expansion, and it sometimes remains so well into the expansion.
Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973--82, both of which lasted 16 months.