The US Recession is Over–That’s a Fact, Not an Opinion

A week or so ago, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) put out announcement stating that the recession had ended in June 2009. Subsequently, numerous articles were written with titles like, “For Many of Us, the Recession Lives On” and “Recession Not over for Most People.” Although I get the point that a lot of people are still suffering, the recession is over, because the NBER is the authority tasked with determining when it starts and stops, and they have measured criteria for determining that sort of thing.

The problem with this kind of headline is that, while catchy and dramatic, it confuses people about the facts. Today, CNN is reporting “Recession Not Over, Public Says.” The evidence presented is a CNN poll that found “seventy-four percent of Americans believe the economy is still in a recession.” What’s not clear from the article is whether the results are because people haven’t heard the NBER announcement or whether they don’t believe it.

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