The Covid Recession Officially Lasted Just 2 Months, the Shortest on Record

The Covid Recession Officially Lasted Just 2 Months, the Shortest on Record

Nathan J Fish/Sun-News

The recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic ended in April 2020, the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee said Monday.

Officially running from March 2020 to April 2020, the two-month Covid recession is the shortest on record. The economy reached a peak in February 2020, NBER said, with the recession beginning the following month as Covid drove shutdowns all over the country. After hitting its lowest point with respect to job losses and output in April, the economy began to recover, which the NBER says marks the end of this atypical recession.

“The recent downturn had different characteristics and dynamics than prior recessions,” the NBER said in a statement, noting that most recessions last at least a few months. “Nonetheless, the committee concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warranted the designation of this episode as a recession, even though the downturn was briefer than earlier contractions.”

That doesn’t mean that all was well from the end of the recession forward, of course. Instead, the ruling about the end of the recession simply reflects the not necessarily obvious way economists measure these things. “If someone falls down a ten-foot hole, an economist would say the person is in recession,” Forbes’ Bill Conerly writes. “When the unlucky person gets up and takes one step upward, the economist says the person is out of recession. Everyone else sees the person is nine feet down a ten-foot hole.”

Biden touts economy: President Biden talked up the state of the economy Monday in remarks at the White House. “Our economy’s come a long way over the last six months. We can’t slow down now," he said.

“Folks, it turns out capitalism is alive and very well,” Biden added. “We’re making serious progress to ensure that it works the way it’s supposed to work, for the good of the American people. For all those predictions of gloom and doom six months in, here’s where we stand. Record growth, record job creation, workers getting hard-earned breaks.”

Speaking as stocks were sliding on Wall Street, Biden also addressed growing concerns about inflation. “My administration understands that if we were to ever experience unchecked inflation over the long-term, that would pose a real challenge to our economy,” he said. “So while we’re confident, that isn’t what we’re seeing today. We’re going to remain vigilant about any response that is needed.”