The longest economic expansion in American history is officially over: The National Bureau of Economic Research declared yesterday that the recession began in February. This was the fastest that NBER has declared any recession since the group began formal announcements in 1979.
Normally, economists define a recession as consecutive quarters of negative growth. But after GDP dropped by about 5 percent during the first quarter, NBER decided not to wait for a second quarter of a contracting economy, although it is widely expected to happen during the second quarter.
One notable thing about this timeline is that the extensive lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic didn't really begin until March. The NBER said that employment, income and spending peaked in February and then fell sharply afterward as the viral outbreak shut down businesses across the country, ending nearly 11 full years of economic growth.