Monday, December 1, 2008

December 2007: The Date the Recession (Officially) Began

This is interesting. On November 5 MarketBeat had a post "Four at Four: The Election Is Over. The Economy Still Stinks." with the quote:
...The next couple of quarters are expected to be rough from an economic perspective, but the market tends to discount improvements in advance, and that will be critical if there are enough signals that the recession will be brief, even though painful. “It’s possible that the U.S. is going to bottom in the fourth quarter or first quarter of 2009,” says Chuck Widger, CEO and chairman of Brinker Capital. “The markets generally bottom in the first quarter of the recession, so we’re probably in a bottoming circumstance now.”
I commented from the peanut gallery:

“The markets generally bottom in the first quarter of the recession…”
I’m guessing that Mr. Widger misspoke, he is reputed to be a sharp guy.
Looking at the National Income Accounts for Q4 1973 through Q2 1975, GNP declined for five consecutive quarters, Q1-’74 through Q1-’75. The DJIA hit it’s 577 bottom on Dec. 6, ‘74.
Could he have been thinking of the endpoint but said ‘first quarter’?
If ‘29-’32 or ‘73-’75 are anything to go by, it seems the challenge is to prognosticate the end of the recession and count backwards 3-7 months to get a fix on the timeframe of the stock markets bottom.
For that dicey computation the most reliable source I’ve found is

Comment by Climateer - November 5, 2008 at 7:43 pm
Today Economix relays:

A committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research has declared that the United States is in a recession, and has been in one since December 2007.

A recession is a significant decline in economic activity, measured by the job market, inflation-adjusted income, the total amount of goods and services produced by a country and other indicators. It begins when a country reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the country reaches its trough. The period on the way up from the trough to the peak is known as an expansion.

The most recent peak was in December 2007, and the economy has been on the way down since then. Before December 2007, the American economy had been expanding since November 2001. In other words, the expansion had lasted for 73 months. The previous expansion of the 1990s lasted 120 months.

The bureau’s Business Cycle Dating Committee discussed the dreaded R-word at a conference-call meeting on Friday, and its findings were released today.
Now, all we have to do is figure out when it will end and count back 3-7 months.
I'm on it boss.