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When Did You Learn We Were In Recession?


Recently the world was shocked — shocked! — to learn the U.S. had entered a recession way back in December 2007.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), that’s when a broad range of U.S. economic indicators peaked, followed by a "decline in economic indicators in 2008 (that) met the standard for a recession."

So when did you find out the U.S. was in recession?

Was it in January of 2008, when the Dow was 12,500 and the S&P was 1,400?

Was it in February? Or in March?

In retrospect, knowing quickly when a recession starts is an important thing — one that can have a huge impact on individual investors. So the question is, when did our ChangeWave Research Network first identify that the U.S. was in recession? (See also: "Could the Recession Affect Our Water Supply?")

If your answer was "way back in January 2008," that’s exactly correct.

Eleven months ago ChangeWave Research released important early intelligence on the recession. In fact, our first report of January 2008 was entitled: ChangeWave Survey Points to a Recession in Consumer Spending.

How Did We Know?

How did we know about the recession back in January 2008?

That’s what our 20,000 member ChangeWave research network has been set up to do — identify critical changes that are affecting both companies and the overall macro-economy weeks and months before everyone else.

A glance at the first chart from our January consumer survey shows why we were able to call the recession from the start.

For the first time in our consumer surveys, the red line (% consumers saying they’ll spend less money going forward) had crossed above the blue line (% saying they’ll spend more money).

overall consumer spending results Jan 06 - Jan 08

In other words, for the first time we were clearly registering negative consumer spending growth.

Now let’s take a closer look at that same chart…


Now let’s take a closer look at that same chart — this time showing it from the first time we ever asked this survey question back in August 2004 right up to our most recent results in December 2008.

overall consumer spending results Aug 04 - Dec 08

A quick glance shows you why we continue to remain so bearish today. The consumer pullback is as pronounced today as at any previous point of the recession — with three-in-five (60%) U.S. respondents currently saying they’ll spend less money over the next 90 days, and only 11% saying they’ll spend more.

Of course, our ChangeWave Research Network focuses on far more than just consumer spending. And it’s worth pointing out that when we released our second report last January it was entitled Corporate Software Spending Goes Negative.

We’ve been tracking a horrific decline in our business spending surveys ever since.

In retrospect, it’s astonishing that it took the government eleven more months before it recognized the U.S. economy had been in a recession for almost a year.

Equally astonishing was the surprise on Wall Street — the Dow closed 678 points lower the day of the NBER announcement, its fourth biggest decline ever.

What’s Next?

Being among the first to detect a recession isn’t the only thing our ChangeWave Research Network does. We also plan to be among the very first to detect the end of the recession.

Our members know that ChangeWave’s weekly surveys are an accurate warning system that enables us to spot shifts in economic trends — both up and down — in advance of other sources.

Based on our track record, our Network Members won’t be waiting for the government to tell us — eleven months too late — that the recession is over. The moment there’s an uptick in the economy, we’ll know about it.

If you’re interested in joining our 20,000 member research network and gaining early access to our research results, click here now.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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