Definition of 'Recession'

The popular definition of an economic recession is two or more successive quarters of a decline in production as measured by the GDP.

But the National Bureau of Economic Research, which decides the official timing of expansions and recessions, defines recession as "a recurring period of decline in total output, income, employment, and trade, usually lasting from six months to a year, and marked by widespread contractions in many sectors of the economy." Thus, along with the length of the decline, its breadth and depth are also considerations in determining an official recession.