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NU Professor Explains Delay in Recession Label

The country’s been in a recession for almost a year. That’s according to a new report from a major research organization with a Chicago connection.

Politicians have been saying for months, or longer, that the U.S. is in a recession. But yesterday, the National Bureau of Economic Research released its opinion.

GORDON: People, in general, say, ‘Why do you wait so long? Why do you wait so long? Why are you telling us today it started a year ago?’

Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon is on the bureau’s panel tasked with tracking business cycles.

GORDON: It takes a lot of time and looking carefully at the numbers to see if the data are singing some song that we can pull out and break through the indeterminacy that appears to be there.

Gordon says that all came together on a recent one-hour conference call. The committee took a look at the numbers, and decided a recession began in December 2007.

Gordon says the group doesn’t do any forecasting. But, personally, he thinks the economy could bottom-out this spring.

I’m Sam Hudzik, Chicago Public Radio.

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