What is a recession? A Grid No Dumb Questions Video


‘No Dumb Questions’: What’s a recession?

What’s a recession? If you’re like many people we asked, at first blush you think you know the answer. And perhaps you do. But like other questions in Grid’s “No Dumb Questions” series, it isn’t so simple; there are many ways to look at the question, and therefore many different answers.

Who decides when the U.S. economy is actually in recession? On what basis do they make that judgment? Are we in a recession now — or about to be? And when the moment comes, now or in the future, what’s the best way to get out of one?

Grid reporter Matthew Zeitlin covers these questions and others pertaining to the economy, so we turned to him for this latest episode. Zeitlin says the odds of the U.S. entering a recession in 2023 are as high as they’ve been for any year since the 2008 financial crisis, not least because of the current willingness of the Federal Reserve to “countenance a recession” (and — not to worry — Zeitlin explains what that means as well).

What’s a recession? It’s complicated. And as is the case with all the subjects in the series, it’s not a dumb question at all.


We’d love to hear from you with other ideas for the series. We like to think there are no “dumb questions”; or put differently, that there’s almost nothing out there in the world of news and information that couldn’t use a little more clarity and context in terms of the answers. We also know that we have really smart readers and that even the smartest among them can’t be expected to have every shred of important context or background on all the events that are roiling the world at any given moment. Send your ideas and questions to tips@grid.news.

More “No Dumb Questions” videos:

  • Matthew Zeitlin
    Matthew Zeitlin

    Domestic Economics Reporter

    Matthew Zeitlin is an economics reporter at Grid focused on the domestic impact of major stories such as coronavirus, the supply chain and economic volatility.

  • Angelo Leotta
    Angelo Leotta

    Associate Producer

  • Tom Nagorski
    Tom Nagorski

    Global Editor

    Tom Nagorski is the global editor at Grid, where he oversees our coverage of global security, U.S.-China relations, migration trends, global economics and U.S. foreign policy.