The U.S. officially fell into a recession in February, the National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday, as the nation moves to emerge from the weight of the coronavirus-pandemic shutdown.
The committee, which serves as the official arbiter of economic downturns, said the expansion lasted 128 months, the longest in the history of U.S. business cycles dating to 1854.
"The committee has determined that a peak in monthly economic activity occurred in the U.S. economy in February 2020," the bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee said in a statement. "The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June 2009 and the beginning of a recession."
The previous record was held by the business expansion that lasted for 120 months from March 1991 to March 2001. The committee defines a recession as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in production, employment, and other indicators."
The committee also determined that a peak in quarterly economic activity occurred in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The committee said it recognized "that the pandemic and the public health response have resulted in a downturn with different characteristics and dynamics than prior recessions."
"Nevertheless, the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions," the committee said.
Separately, the World Bank on Monday predicted that gross domestic product will contract 5.2% in 2020 for the deepest global recession in 80 years.