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Panel Says Indicators Pointing to Recession

Reuters

A U.S. panel of economists that is considered the final word on whether the nation is in a recession said three of the four major indicators it tracks have sunk to levels seen in previous recessions.

“Among the four indicators, only income has behaved differently from recession averages over the past seven months,” the National Bureau of Economic Research’s business cycle dating committee said in a Nov. 9 memo released on its Web site, https://www.nber.org.

The NBER said it had not yet held a meeting to determine if a U.S. recession had begun, but said indicators of industrial production, employment and wholesale-retail trade were within recession territory.

Real income, meanwhile, has not declined, although the rate of growth in income has fallen. The NBER said that real income has not fallen substantially in five of the last nine U.S. recessions and called employment “probably the single most reliable indicator” of recessions.

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A recession is loosely defined as two straight quarters of contraction in gross domestic product. U.S. GDP fell 0.4% in the third quarter and is believed to be declining at a steeper pace during the current fourth quarter, thus meeting the informal definition of a recession.


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