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The traditional textbook definition of a recession is simple: two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. You might think that the 2001 downturn qualified on that basis for the term recession, since it is commonly called one, but it did not. The mild economic contractions that occurred were alternated with quarters of positive growth. The last real recession, by the textbook definition, was in 1990-1991.
Staffing Industry Analysts' Director of Research Analysis Jon Osborne weighs in on talk of a recession in his blog. Click here.