Despite continued protestations to the contrary, the US may have entered a period of recession – its first for a decade – according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The Bureau – a fact-finding committee and the official judge of when recessions start and end – has repeatedly denied in recent months that the current economic downturn in the US warranted use of the dreaded ‘r’ word.

However, last week it altered its stance, stating that “data normally considered by the committee indicate the possibility that a [US] recession began recently.”

Despite the change of opinion, the Bureau declined to assign a date for when the putative recession may have started. “The economy has not declined nearly enough to merit a meeting of the [recession-dating] committee or the determination of a peak date,” it continued.

Nevertheless, US Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill insisted that the US has avoided recession, pointing to the delayed effects of tax cuts and lower interest rates. “It’s easy to find gloom and doom,” he commented. “[But] consumers are hanging in there. The spending rates are still quite good.”

News source: Financial Times