Pretty much everyone, including me, referred to the recession as having been “officially” called yesterday when the National Bureau of Economic Research‘s Business Cycle Dating Committee decided that the recession began in December 2007. This raises the point that despite the “national” in the name, and people’s tendency to regard NBER’s calls as “official,” it’s not actually an official outfit in the sense of being a government agency or anything. It’s a non-profit in located near a bunch of furniture stores in Cambridge. Reliance on the NBER is just a longstanding tradition, and it’s actually a slightly odd one; this seems like the kind of things one of the official government statistics agencies would do. That we don’t do it that way isn’t necessarily a huge deal, but it’s still pretty strange if you ask me.