Sorry, But Recessions Do Often Begin With Positive GDP

After the Advanced GDP came out last week at +0.6%, I was surprised to read a variety of commentary about the economy that was factually incorrect. Several pundits and economists had concluded that since GDP was positive, we therefore could not possibly be in a recession.

The meme “Positive GDP = No Recession!” is demonstrably false, as we show in the proceeding pages.

It took only a brief look at historical GDP data to unequivocally prove this to be the case. We used publicly available GDP data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The dating of recessions was as per the official tables kept by the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

The data so overwhelmingly proves that Recession can and often do begin with positive GDP, that one suspects the people making opposite arguments must never have actually reviewed any GDP data beyond the most recent headline.

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