The highest point between the end of an economic expansion and the start of a contraction in a business cycle. The peak of the cycle refers to the last month before several key economic indicators, such as employment and new housing starts, begin to fall. It is at this point that real GDP spending in an economy is its highest level.


Business cycles are dated according to when the direction of economic activity changes and is measured by the time it takes for an economy to go from one peak to another. Also, because economic indicators change at different times, it is the National Bureau of Economic Research that ultimately determines the official dates of peaks and troughs in U.S. business cycles.

  1. Business Cycle

    The fluctuations in economic activity that an economy experiences ...
  2. Recession

    A significant decline in activity across the economy, lasting ...
  3. Contraction

    A phase of the business cycle in which the economy as a whole ...
  4. National Bureau of Economic Research ...

    This private, non-profit, non-partisan research organization's ...
  5. Trough

    The stage of the economy's business cycle that marks the end ...
  6. Expansion

    The phase of the business cycle when the economy moves from a ...
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