Is this the start of a recession? According to the US Dept. of Commerce Real gross domestic product (GDP) — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — decreased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. A recession is usually defined as two consecutive downward GDP quarterly reports.
Keep in mind that this estimate will be revised at the end of February and again at the end of March (which means it could go down or up).
Given that government numbers are so fiddled with as to be entirely untrustworthy, I always assume that the real situation is far worse than what is being reported. And anyway, during a Great Depression, the economy will move in and out of formal recessions from time to time.
By the way, for some odd reason, the fact that GDP is actually shrinking seems to have escaped the mainstream media entirely. Why is that, do you suppose?
But hey – the stock market!