It appears likely that the U.S. economy faces a recession. For many Americans, the more important issue is how long it might last and how deep it could be.

The typical definition of a recession is two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. Establishing the precise start and end to a recession is difficult. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) generally has the task of assigning recession timeframes. Their recession determination, however, differs from the widely accepted version.

The NBER defines a recession as a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.

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