The U.S. economy underwent a brief recession in the first half of 2022 according to the traditional definition of a recession as consisting of at least two successive calendar quarters of negative real growth in GDP. This conclusion has been challenged by the NBER’s use of a composite blend of several judgmentally based economic indicators to identify recessions. However, the traditional definition is superior: it is more objective, embodies a definite, objective measurement that is manifest for all to see, and is timely—unlike the NBER’s slow motion ruminations, which are based on vague criteria.

This full text of this article will be available on this page nine months after its initial print publication. To read it now, please buy this issue in print or downloadable eBook & PDF format, or in the Independent Review app on iOS or Android, or on Magzter which offers digital access on smartphones, tablets, and web browsers.
John F. Gaski is professor emeritus of marketing at Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame.
Economic PolicyEconomy