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Alternative Measures of U.S. Economic Activity in Business Cycyles and Business Cycle Dating
by Bruce T. Grimm

The paper looks at the 10 recessions since World War II, and compares them to both monthly and quarterly indicators of general economic activity. It finds that four monthly measures emphasized by the NBER’s dating committee do not fully agree with the official peak and trough months, but that—as a group—they are in good agreement. Likewise, quarterly estimates of both real GDP and real GDI do not fully agree with all peak and trough quarters, or with each other. Nevertheless, together they are in general agreement with the official peaks and troughs.

Updated: August 5, 2005