The U.S. economic recession that occurred during the earliest stages of the coronavirus pandemic began after February 2020 and lasted just two months, making it the shortest on record. The determination, announced Monday, was made by the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The New York Times' Ben Casselman notes that the recession was so brief that by the time the NBER officially declared a recession in June 2020 it was, at least according to Monday's finding, already over. Previously, a 6-month downturn in the first half of 1980 was considered the shortest recession.
Of course, none of this means the economy had fully healed and returned to its normal operating capacity by May 2020, NBER clarified. Rather, economic activity had begun expanding again by that point, and the committee decided that any future downturns would not be a continuation of the brief recession that took place last year. Read the NBER's full statement here.