You know the Great Recession we are suffering through? Well, turns out it ended more than a year ago. But try telling that to the 10% of the nation who is unemployed and the millions of others still struggling to pay their bills.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, an independent group of economists, released a statement Monday saying the recession ended in June 2009. That means the recession lasted for 18 months, making it the longest and deepest downturn for the U.S. economy since the Great Depression.
The NBER typically takes a long time to declare the start and end of recessions, waiting for all the economic data to be finalized. It took the group nearly a year to declare that this recession began in December 2007 -- making its decision only after the stock market crashed in September 2008.
But we are not out of the woods just yet. Weak economic data over the past few months have led to rising fears of another recession, called a "double-dip" recession. In its statement, the NBER acknowledged the risk, but said, "the committee decided that any future downturn of the economy would be a new recession and not a continuation of the recession that began in December 2007."
Double-dip recessions are relatively rare. The last one occurred in the United States when the 1980 recession was followed by another in 1981-82.
President Obama welcomed the news about the recession ending, but he acknowledged at a town meeting in Washington that tough times are ahead.
"Obviously, for the millions of people who are still out of work, people who have seen their home values decline, people who are struggling to pay the bills day to day, [the recession is] still very real for them," he said.