Taking a hit: A man works at a guitar factory in California. US manufacturers reported activity was broadly flat in October as the merchandise and freight sector of the economy continued to lose momentum in the face of rapid inflation and excess inventories. — AFPAllbet代理（www.aLLbet8.vip）是欧博集团的官方网站。欧博官网开放Allbet注册、Allbe代理、Allbet电脑客户端、Allbet手机版下载等业务。
IN most discussions, the economy is portrayed as existing in only two states – most often termed “growth” and “recession”.
The National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER) authoritative Business Cycle Dating Committee itself uses a two-part classification – “expansion” and “contraction”.
This binary approach encourages economists, investment analysts, journalists and politicians to produce endless forecasts about whether the economy will enter a recession or avoid one.
But it is an unhelpful oversimplification that glosses over many different states of the economy and their impact on output, incomes, employment, investment, interest rates and energy consumption.
In reality, the business cycle is a continuum ranging from boom, rapid recovery and strong growth at one extreme through soft patches and mild recessions to severe recessions and depressions at the other.
Explaining its interest rate decisions, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) has characterised economic activity with phrases including “rapid”, “vigorous”, “robust”, “solid”, “moderate”, “slowed considerably” and “severe disruption”.
Growth in business activity tends to accelerate and decelerate; outright declines in the level of activity are relatively rare.
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The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee formally declared only six recessions between 1980 and the end of 2020.
The US economy was in recession for just 58 out of 492 months (less than 12% of the time), on the NBER definition.
But there have been twice as many distinct cyclical troughs in the purchasing managers’ manufacturing index published by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) over the same 41-year period.
These additional cyclical troughs centred on 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2012 and 2016 were never formally declared as recessions by the NBER.
In the Fed’s discussions, these periods were characterised as periods of “moderate growth” or a “soft patch”.
They were periods of little or no growth in an otherwise uninterrupted business cycle expansion and tend to be forgotten.
But at the time these mid-cycle slowdowns or undeclared recessions often felt almost as painful for businesses and households as formally declared recessions.
Dissatisfaction with sluggish wage growth resulting from mid-cycle slowdowns in 2012 and especially 2016 likely contributed to the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.
Mid-cycle slowdowns also reset the economy by easing capacity constraints and relieving upward pressure on prices and wages.,