The “Non-Technical Recession” Recession of 2001

I recall a conversation sometime in May 2001, when on the staff of the CEA, where the topic was how all the indicators were all pointing toward avoiding a recession. Indeed, using the oft-cited rule of thumb of two-consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, there was no 2001 recession (although there was by this criterion a period of about 2 years, 2002-04, when there was). Consider this graph of GDP, by different vintages:

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