OLD Media Moves

Bloomberg's Winkler: OK to write that country is in recession

November 17, 2008

Although the traditional definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of a decline in the gross domestic product — and that hasn’t happened yet — Bloomberg News editor in chief Matthew Winkler has told the wire service’s editorial staff that it’s permissable to write that the U.S. is in a recession.

In his weekly notes, distributed to the staff and obtained by Talking Biz News, Winkler writes, “It is accurate to say the U.S. is in a recession. While the National Bureau of Economic Research hasn’t said yet when the economy entered its first downturn since 2001, three of the eight members of the panel that determines the economy’s peaks and troughs — Chairman Robert Hall of Stanford University and Martin Feldstein and Jeffrey Frankel, both of Harvard University — said this month that a recession is under way.

“The NBER defines a recession as a ‘significant’ decrease in activity over a sustained period.

“We also can refer to a global economic recession, based on the Nov. 6 statement from the International Monetary Fund. The economies of Germany and the 15 European nations that use the euro have contracted for two quarters, meeting the technical definition of a recession.

“Check with the local economy team or with Dan Moss, economy managing editor, before referring to recessions elsewhere.”

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