The US officially entered a recession in December 2007, with the downturn morphing from a mild to a severe slump in the autumn of 2008.

This paper looks at the broad implications for Canada of past US recessions, and some of the factors that separate a severe downturn from milder slumps in Canada.

The mild downturns in the US in 1990- were accompanied in Canada by a severe recession in the former case and no recession in the latter.

It shows a recession from the quarter following the peak through the quarter of the trough (i.e.

the peak is not included in the recession shading, but the trough is).

At that point, there was near-universal agreement that the recession was over.

The official end-date, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, was June of 2009. That end-date made the recession of 2007-09 the longest in America's postwar history at 18 months, surpassing the 16-month contractions in 1973--82. Back in April, the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee met to discuss whether an official end-date could be determined.

But the suggestion that the economic pain is not yet definitively over struck a discordant note amid cheerier headlines. Labour markets are finally improving; during the first quarter of this year employment grew by 162,000 or 1.4m, depending on which data set you use. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by over 10% since early February, and recently closed above 11,000 for the first time since September 2008. By Mr Gordon's calculations, much of the data point to June 2009 as the likely recession end-date.

Earlier in the month this paper expressed the hope that a needed transition in the American economy had begun, and others have gone further. Since then the American economy has seen a net deterioration in employment by about 900,000 workers.

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The Committee released its new findings in August 2017.