We are in Recession.
The economy is in a recession in effect if one quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product/economic activity) wipes out the gains of the previous quarter. You do not need officially two consecutive quarters of a flat or minus GDP headline to be called a recession. Instead, as occurred in Q1 (first quarter of) 2008, one quarter GDP was so bad that it wiped out the weak gains of the previous quarter (Q4 2007). Result? The official start of the last recession was Q4 2007 despite the fact that only one quarter was in a minus.
Well, Q1 of 2014 wiped out the gains of Q4 2013, which means we are in a recession and it started Q4 2013.
In Q2 2008, the GDP rose at an annual rate of 2% but it did not end the recession, because jointly with the first quarter of 2008, the economy was still flat and or contracting for six months.
For this recession to end quickly, Q2 2014 GDP needs to add to the economy the $118 billion that was wiped-pout in Q1. That would be a GDP headline of about/above 3%.
The first estimate for Q2 GDP will be released at the end of July, then revised at the end of August, and the final number will be released at the end of September. But even if the late July estimate of Q2 will show a 3% annual growth rate, do not buy it from this administration. Look how the Q1 GDP estimates changed: 0.1% growth in the first estimate (late April); to -1.0% in the second estimate (late May), to 2.9% in the last (late June) estimate.
The last time there was such big changes in GDP estimates was in 1976. My thinking is the reason we did not get a more realistic view in April about the economy was to keep the public happy and fooled for another month or two that economy is doing all right. But now Wall Street is mostly focused on the second quarter, so this bad GDP headline of Q1 can be dismissed as "old news" and indeed it is done by Libs all over. (Again there are legitimate reasons for change in estimates. The government sees updated and new information as the months move by, but to have such a big revision -- to have the worst number come out when Wall Street is already looking ahead to the second quarter -- must be political).
See the GDP data.