» In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. Macroeconomic indicators such as GDP, employment, investment spending, capacity utilization, household income, business profits, and inflation fall, while bankruptcies and the unemployment rate rise.
Recessions generally occur when there is a widespread drop in spending, often following an adverse supply shock or the bursting of an economic bubble. Governments usually respond to recessions by adopting expansionary macroeconomic policies, such as increasing money supply, increasing government spending and decreasing taxation.
In a 1975 New York Times article, economic statistician Julius Shiskin suggested several rules of thumb for defining a recession, one of which was "two down consecutive quarters of GDP". In time, the other rules of thumb were forgotten. Some economists prefer a definition of a 1.5% rise in unemployment within 12 months.
In the United States, the Business Cycle...