The sudden appearance of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the measures put in place to contain its spread have swiftly taken their toll on the U.S. economy. Earlier this month, the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee (BCDC) declared that the 128 month-long economic expansion that began in 2009 — the longest expansion in U.S. history — had ended in February.1 Indeed, economic activity came to a halt so abruptly that the BCDC was able to make its determination in just four months, far shorter than the 12 months required to identify the onset of the ‘Great’ Recession.2

[1] The expansion was the longest in the history of U.S. business cycles dating back to 1854. See “NBER Determination of the February 2020 Peak in Economic Activity,” National Bureau of Economic Research, June 8, 2020.

[2] The National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee (BCDC) typically makes its determination in six to 21 months. See “US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions,” National Bureau of Economic Research.