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NBER Says Data Don't Necessitate Meeting


Debate is raging over whether the U.S. is in a recession or on the verge of one, but the official arbiter doesn't think it's even worth investigating yet.

"Nothing in the data is yet anywhere close to the point that the [National Bureau of Economic Research] would investigate whether a peak occurred in late 2000," Robert Hall said in a memo to be posted on the organization's Web site. As chairman of the NBER's business cycle dating committee, his opinion matters...

Still, the NBER's declaration should be of only limited comfort because it isn't a forecast. "The dating committee does not forecast recessions -- they date them a year later when the dust settles," said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, which said last month that a recession was no longer avoidable.

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