November 7, 2008

Using the "R" word

Dennis P. Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, addressing a business development conference in Palm Beach County today, said “Recent data indicate that the national economy is in recession.”

This is the first time I’ve seen anyone connected with the Fed make this admission.

The whole text of his speech is here.

Mind you, Lockhart is careful to point out that this is his view, and “not necessarily shared by my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee.”

Still, he’s in a position to judge. And the official arbiter of recessions, the National Bureau of Economic Research, is famous for being extremely cautious about issuing such statements. For example, it didn’t announce the November 2001 trough until July of 2003.

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