According to the official record-keeper, the economic slump in the United States caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last year was the shortest in American history, lasting only two months.
The coronavirus-induced contraction began in February 2020 and ended in April 2020, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private nonprofit research institution that records the start and end of U.S. recessions.
When the gross domestic product falls for several months in a row, it is called a recession.
The NBER said that although U.S. GDP declined by a dramatic 31% in the second quarter of 2020, government stimulus policies helped stabilize the economy.
“The recession lasted two months, which makes it the shortest U.S. recession on record,” the bureau said in a statement.
“The previous shortest recession occurred in the first half of 1980 and lasted six months.”
A recession is typically characterised as a drop in economic activity that lasts longer than a few months. The NBER, on the other hand, determined that last year’s two-month decrease was severe enough to be classified as a recession.
“The recent downturn had different characteristics and dynamics than prior recessions,” it said. “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.”
Many economic indicators in the United States have reverted to pre-pandemic levels, according to the NBER. However, employment continues to lag, with more than 7 million workers missing from the workforce as of February 2020, according to the report.