Chart Shows a Prolonged Economic Recession

In this NY Times Saturday column Floyd Norris takes a look at several statistics reflected in the Index of Coincident Indicators chart that suggests the current recession is likely to differ from those of the past. “This recession is…bidding to be the longest in recent history. If it ends in May — which seems unlikely — it will have lasted 16 months, tying it with the 1973-75 and 1981-82 downturns as the longest since World War II”.

From The NYT: The current recession has become the second-worst in the last half-century….according to the Index of Coincident Indicators, based on government data and compiled each month by the Conference Board, a private organization.

Unlike the more widely followed Index of Leading Indicators, which is supposed to help forecast changes in the economy, the coincident index is aimed at simply recording how the economy is doing now.

The accompanying chart shows how far that index has declined from prerecession peaks during each downturn since 1960. The figure for March, released this week, showed a decline of 5.6 percent from the high set in November 2007, the month before the recession began, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Graph: NYT

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