Even though the National Bureau of Economic Research told us on Monday that the country’s been in a recession for the past year (thanks!), don’t expect to hear from them if we actually cross over into a depression. There’s no agency to track that—yet.
LA Times: [A]s the economic crisis has deepened this fall, analysts and business executives increasingly have raised the prospect that we’re headed for a depression. The most recent example came Wednesday, when a top Chrysler executive told Congress that the failure of a major U.S. automaker could “trigger a depression.”
If so, don’t expect the National Bureau of Economic Research to give us a head’s up when it happens.
“It’s just not a part of the business-cycle-dating process that the NBER has been involved in,” a spokeswoman for the bureau said.
According to the bureau’s website, “The NBER does not separately identify depressions. The NBER business cycle chronology identifies the dates of peaks and troughs in economic activity. We refer to the period between a peak and a trough as a contraction or a recession, and the period between the trough and the peak as an expansion.”