Members of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the group responsible for tracking the nation's business cycles, have announced that the United States is officially in a recession. This marks the first U.S. recession in a decade and the 10th since World War II.
Noting that the terrorist attacks may have pushed what was a slowing economy over the edge into official recession, the group maintains that all the pieces were in place for a recession to begin before the attacks occurred. The NBER noted that the recession actually began in March, 2001, when it became obvious that a downturn in industrial production which began in September 2000 was not going to rebound, nor were sales, which had peaked in late 2000.
"The committee is satisfied that the total contraction in the economy is sufficient to merit the determiniation that a recession is under way," the committee stated.
Economists predict that the recession will end in early 2002 with help from aggressive interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, tax cuts, and government spending. Some economists anticipate a rapid recovery in 2002, others predict the economy will recover slowly and not show signs of healthy growth for 1-2 years.