Who does the official dating of recessions

The "Tax Planning Strategies" annotation refers to shifting income into the current year to avoid a real or expected tax increase.

The first chart below graphs the period from 2000 to the present, thereby showing us the behavior of the four indicators before and after the two most recent recessions.

Rather than having four separate charts, I've created an overlay to help us evaluate the relative behavior of the indicators at the cycle peaks and troughs. Click for a larger image The chart above is an excellent starting point for evaluating the relevance of the four indicators in the context of two very different recessions.

Background Analysis: The Big Four Indicators and Recessions The charts above don't show us the individual behavior of the Big Four leading up to the 2007 recession.

To achieve that goal, I've plotted the same data using a "percent off high" technique.

Click for a larger image History tells us the brief periods of contraction are not uncommon, as we can see in this big picture since 1959, the same chart as the one above, but showing the average of the four rather than the individual indicators.

Click for a larger image The chart clearly illustrates the savagery of the last recession.We now have the three indicator updates for the 61th month following the recession. Current Assessment and Outlook The overall picture of the US economy had been one of slow recovery from the Great Recession with a clearly documented contraction during the winter, as reflected in Q1 GDP.Data for Q2 supported the consensus view that severe winter weather was responsible for the Q1 contraction -- that it was not the beginnings of a business cycle decline.It was much deeper than the closest contender in this timeframe, the 1973-1975 Oil Embargo recession.While we've yet to set new highs, the trend has collectively been upward, although we have that strange anomaly caused by the late 2012 tax-planning strategy that impacted the Personal Income. Click for a larger image Industrial Production The US Industrial Production Index (INDPRO) is the oldest of the four indicators, stretching back to 1919, although I've dropped the earlier decades and started in 1950.Canada’s last recession -- rated a category 4 slump on a five-point severity scale -- began in November, 2008, and ended seven months later in May, 2009, according to a CD Howe’s business cycle dating panel.