Is the Great Recession Over? Depends Who You Ask


America's most quoted economist, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, has a hot new quote: "The Great Recession is over." Zandi made the pronouncement on CBS News over the weekend.

Although some analysts will agree, the economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) might offer a different assessment. The NBER defines the beginnings and ends of recessions, and when it called the beginning of the current recession -- which began in December 2007, a date that was finally determined in December of 2008 -- it said that employment was the most important factor in defining the timing of the current slowdown: "The committee determined that the decline in economic activity in 2008 met the standard for a recession . . . . The 1.2 million drop in payroll employment so far this year was the biggest factor in determining the start of the contraction. . ."