Many countries define a recession as an economic downturn of two consecutive quarters of negative growth for gross domestic product. The U.S. scoffs at this assessment as being too simplistic and instead has eight economists—six men and two women—who meet discreetly to assess the U.S. economy.
Many of us may not have heard of this committee because they often meet in secret and do not announce their gathering unless a formal decision is made. This panel consists of a mixture of economists with political backgrounds that have served over the last four presidential administrations. Their findings are based on economic data with a strong forbearance of talking about or involving politics in their decision-making, which is one of the reasons why the group is so respected.