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The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines when a recession starts.
GDP contracted 2.2% in Q3, 5.9% in Q4, and 1.8% in Q1 1954. Starting in April 1960, the recession lasted 10 months, until February 1961.
GDP was -1.5% in Q2, rose 1.0% in Q3, but was -4.8% in Q4. President Kennedy ended the recession with stimulus spending.
the peak is not included in the recession shading, but the trough is).
In general usage, the word recession connotes a marked slippage in economic activity.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis measures recessions using Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)This recession lasted only eight months (February to October 1945). That's because GDP continued to fall until it reached -10.6% in 1946.