Proof positive

This is one of the many reasons that I have long insisted that the US economic statistics are garbage:

The U.S. economy has been in a recession since December 2007, the National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday. The NBER—a private, nonprofit research organization—said its group of academic economists who determine business cycles met and decided that the U.S. recession began last December.

Now, let’s look at what the official GDP stats have been since that time:

2006 – 2.9 percent
2007 – 2.2 percent

2007 Q4 – 0.6 percent
2008 Q1 – 0.9 percent
2008 Q2 – 2.8 percent (advance 1.9, preliminary 3.3)
2008 Q3 -(0.5 percent)

Notice how the numbers dance all over the place, before being thrown out altogether. Since a recession is supposed to be two consecutive quarters of economic contraction, how can there be a recession starting in 2007 when there hasn’t been any official contraction prior to Q3 2008?