The COVID-induced recession was the shortest in American history.
The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research — which “maintains a chronology of the peaks and troughs of US business cycles” — defines a recession as the time period between a “peak” and “trough” in economic activity. The agency explained:
The committee has determined that a trough in monthly economic activity occurred in the US economy in April 2020. The previous peak in economic activity occurred in February 2020. The recession lasted two months, which makes it the shortest US recession on record.
In determining that a trough occurred in April 2020, the committee did not conclude that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. An expansion is a period of rising economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. Economic activity is typically below normal in the early stages of an expansion, and it