In economics, the term Recession generally describes the reduction of a country's gross domestic product (GDP) for at least two quarters. The usual dictionary definition is "a period of reduced economic activity", a business cycle contraction.
The United States-based National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines economic recession as: "a significant decline in [the] economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP growth, real personal income, employment (non-farm payrolls), industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales."
In macroeconomics, a recession is a decline in a country's gross domestic product (GDP), or negative real economic growth, for two or more successive quarters of a year.
An alternative, less accepted definition of recession is a downward trend in the rate of actual GDP growth as promoted by the business-cycle dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. That private organization defines a recession more ambiguously as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months." A recession has many attributes that can occur simultaneously and can include declines in coincident measures of activity such as employment, investment, and corporate profits. A severe or prolonged recession is referred to as an economic depression.
There are no completely reliable predictors. These are regarded to be possible predictors.
• In the U.S. a significant stock market drop has often preceded the beginning of a recession. However about half of the declines of 10% or more since 1946 have not been followed by recessions. In about 50% of the cases a significant stock market decline came only after the recessions had already begun.
• Inverted yield curve, the model developed by economist Jonathan H. Wright, uses yields on 10-year and three-month Treasury securities as well as the Fed's overnight funds rate. Another model developed by Federal Reserve Bank of New York economists uses only the 10-year/three-month spread. It is, however, not a definite indicator; it is sometimes followed by a recession 6 to 18 months later.
• The three-month change in the unemployment rate and initial jobless claims.
• Index of Leading (Economic) Indicators (includes some of the above indicators).
Strategies for moving an economy out of a recession vary depending on which economic school the policymakers follow. While Keynesian economists may advocate deficit spending by the government to spark economic growth, supply-side economists may suggest tax cuts to promote business capital investment. Laissez-faire economists may simply recommend that the government not interfere with natural market forces.
Both government and business have responses to recessions. In the Philadelphia Business Journal, Strategic Business adviser Carter Schelling has discussed precautions businesses take to prepare for looming recession, likening it to fire drill. First, he suggests that business owners gauge customers' ability to resist recession and redesign customer offerings accordingly. He goes on to suggest they use lean principles, replace unhappy workers with those more motivated, eager and highly competitive. Also over-communicate. "Companies," he says, "get better at what they do during bad times." He calls his program the "Recession Drill."
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