An overall decline in economic activity mainly observed as a slowdown in output and employment. It is not as severe or prolonged as a depression. A recession is often defined as real GDP falling for two successive quarters, but the National Bureau of Economic Research 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’. A recession begins just after the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends as the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.