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A: Most of the recessions identified by our procedures do consist of two or more quarters of declining real GDP, but not all of them.
In 2001, for example, the recession did not include two consecutive quarters of decline in real GDP.
The peak date at the end of 2007 coincided with the peak in employment.
We designated June 2009 as the trough, six months before the trough in employment, which is consistent with earlier trough dates in the NBER business-cycle chronology.
A: Personal income comes from Table 2.6 of the National Income and Product Accounts, less personal current transfer receipts from the same table, deflated by a monthly interpolation of the price index for gross domestic product, NIPA Table 1.1.9. The committee also considered new estimates of monthly real GDP and GDI constructed by two committee members, James Stock and Mark Watson (available here).
Many of the ingredients of the quarterly GDP figures are published at a monthly frequency by government agencies.
Third, we consider the depth of the decline in economic activity.
For example, the unemployment rate reached its lowest level prior to the December 2007 peak of activity in May 2007 at 4.4 percent and climbed to 5.0 percent by December 2007.
The time in between is a recession, a period when economic activity is contracting. As of September 2010, when we decided that a trough had occurred in June 2009, the economy was still weak, with lingering high unemployment, but had expanded considerably from its trough 15 months earlier.
Q: How do the movements of unemployment claims inform the Bureau's thinking?
For example, in the recovery beginning in March 1991, the unemployment rate continued to rise for 15 months after the trough. In the current recovery, the lag was only 4 months, from the trough in activity in June 2009 to the highest level of the unemployment rate in October 2009.
Q: What data from the National Income and Product Accounts are used in the calculation of real personal income less transfers? Macroeconomic Advisers, a consulting firm, prepares estimates of monthly real GDP.