Although this definition is a useful rule of thumb, it has drawbacks.
There is no official definition of recession, but there is general recognition that the term refers to a period of decline in economic activity.
In evaluating the 2008/2009 recession, the Council noted that while the Canadian economy began to soften slightly in December 2007, a majority of industry sectors raised output, and employment rose steadily until the third quarter of 2008.
In mid-September 2008, the investment bank Lehman Brothers failed in the US, setting off a chain reaction in financial markets that effectively froze credit flows.
The latest episode was one of the longest and deepest recessions since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
recessions had become milder over time, the recent global crisis reversed that trend.