Case Assignment: The US Economy

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Case assignment: The U.S. economy Q1. How is a recession defined? Is the U.S. currently in a recession? Explain. The technical, economist's definition of a recession is when GDP is negative for two consecutive economic quarters (Amadeo 2012). Given this definition, the United States is currently not in a recession: "real gross domestic product the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012...In the fourth quarter of 2011, real GDP increased 3.0 percent" (National income and product accounts: Gross Domestic Product, 1st quarter 2012, 2012, US Department of Commerce). Some definitions of 'recession' are broader. For example, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines a recession as "a period of falling economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales" (Amadeo 2012). By the time two consecutive periods of negative GDP have passed, the recession is already underway. Quite often, the nation is not aware that it is in recession until after the fact. However, even the NBER stated that it believed that the 2008 recession officially ended in the third quarter of 2009 (Amadeo 2012). However, certain states, such as Detroit and Oregon, were much harder-hit by the recession, because of the critical impact of its
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