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It places particular emphasis on measures that refer to the total economy rather than to particular sectors.These include a measure of monthly GDP that has been developed by the private forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers, measures of monthly GDP and GDI that have been developed by two members of the committee in independent research (James Stock and Mark Watson, (available here), real personal income excluding transfers, the payroll and household measures of total employment, and aggregate hours of work in the total economy.The committee decided that any future downturn of the economy would be a new recession and not a continuation of the recession that began in December 2007.The basis for this decision was the length and strength of the recovery to date.There is no fixed rule about what weights the committee assigns to the various indicators, or about what other measures contribute information to the process.The committee concluded that the behavior of the quarterly series for real GDP and GDI indicates that the trough occurred in mid-2009.
The committee designated June as the month of the trough based on several monthly indicators.
The committee waited to make its decision until revisions in the National Income and Product Accounts, released on July 30 and August 27, 2010, clarified the 2009 time path of the two broadest measures of economic activity, real Gross Domestic Product (real GDP) and real Gross Domestic Income (real GDI).
The committee noted that in the most recent data, for the second quarter of 2010, the average of real GDP and real GDI was 3.1 percent above its low in the second quarter of 2009 but remained 1.3 percent below the previous peak which was reached in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The committee places less emphasis on monthly data series for industrial production and manufacturing-trade sales, because these refer to particular sectors of the economy.
Movements in these series can provide useful additional information when the broader measures are ambiguous about the date of the monthly peak or trough.
Real GDP reached its low point in the second quarter of 2009, while the value of real GDI was essentially identical in the second and third quarters of 2009.