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US sees 18 months of recession

May 01, 2009 17:26 IST
The world's largest economy, the US, is now in recession for 18 straight months, one of the longest since the 1930s Great Depression, amid rising hopes of an early economic revival.

The American economy has been in recession for one and a half years, even as the battle for economic revival centred on bailout programmes continues to progress.

According to non-profit research organisation National Bureau of Economic Research, the US officially slipped into recession in December 2007.

The hopes of green shoots of recovery for the economy have been sparked by the US Federal Reserve's observation that the pace of economic contraction has slowed in recent times.

Moreover, the number of initial claims for unemployment benefits has fallen by 14,000 to 6,31,000 last week, signalling a possible thaw in the country's strained labour market.

Still, the latest official data showed that US GDP shrank at a staggering pace of 6.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2009. Nonetheless, consumer spending climbed during the same period.

The US Fed, while keeping the key rates unchanged in the range of 0 to 0.25 per cent, noted that the economy is shrinking at a slower pace.

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