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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

U.S. Coronavirus Recession Lasted Two Months, Ended in April 2020, Official Arbiter Says

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The coronavirus pandemic triggered widespread business closures last spring, including this restaurant at a Los Angeles grocery on March 26, 2020.



Photo:

Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

The U.S. officially climbed out of a recession in April 2020, concluding a pandemic-driven economic contraction that began in February and at two months was the shortest on record.

The announcement Monday from the National Bureau of Economic Research also marks April as the official start of the economic recovery from the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, which triggered widespread business and school closures, a steep drop in demand for services and record job losses.

The recession ended the country’s longest recorded economic expansion, which began in June 2009 and lasted 128 months, according to the bureau’s Business Cycle Dating Committee, the accepted arbiter of recession dates in the U.S.

The committee uses a variety of indicators to identify the peaks and troughs that frame economic contractions, defining “recession” as a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy that lasts more than a few months. The group typically waits until a business cycle is well under way before declaring it has started—it took more than a year to declare the end of the 2007-09 recession. But it broke with past practice last summer when it announced a recession had begun just a few months earlier.

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