The U.S. is officially in a recession, bringing an end to a historic 128 months of economic growth, after the coronavirus pandemic swept the country and shut down the economy.
For more than a decade, the American economy seemed to contradict the adage “What goes up, must come down.” That ended in February, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, or NBER, the agency that identifies periods of economic growth and contraction.
The economic expansion would have turned 11 years old this month — a span unmatched in the postwar economy.
The NBER noted that the quarterly peak was the final quarter of 2019. Gross domestic production dropped by 5 percent in the first quarter of 2020, and analysts predict that the drop in the current quarter is likely to be historically steep. A tracking tool from the Atlanta Federal Reserve estimated a drop of nearly 54 percent for the quarter.
“March represented a huge contraction, and that contraction was significant enough that it offset the growth in January and February,” Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride said. “That really underscores the significant and sudden stop in the economy, because the lockdowns didn’t even kick in on March 1. So, in reality, it was the last two weeks of the quarter.”