N+1 Declares Recession Over


In his latest missive to subscribers, editor of hip literary journal N+1 Keith Gessen wrote “First, we’re sending Issue 8 to the printer next week. The theme is ‘Recessional.’ While we were making it, the recession ended. This is the danger of being an extremely slow print publication.” Moe Tkacik, now of Clusterstock, responded yesterday with heavy snark:

Although the investment community is generally quick to discount the prognostications of literary novelists as what they call “lagging indicators,” one of the last of their kind to spend a considerable amount of time studying the financial services industry did in 1989 famously claim to have prophesied the Bernie Goetz incident, among other major market events, weeks before they occurred.

Perhaps to that end, Gessen goes on to announce that his magazine has launched a Twitter feed, which we will be checking periodically for housing starts forecasts, etc.

Joking aside, I think the odds are quite good that the NBER business cycle dating committee will end up vindicating Gessen. Today we learn that GDP shrunk at an annualized rate of one percent in the second quarter. But even though we got the data today, the second quarter ended in June. Nothing’s certain, but it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that three months from now we’ll learn that GDP growth was weakly positive in July-August-September of 2009 and that the recession did, in fact, end while Issue 8 of N+1 was at the printer.