DEFINITION of 'Pale Recession'

A phrase used in May 2008 by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan to describe an economic environment in which recession has not yet hit all the areas of the economy. In particular, Greenspan was speaking of the U.S. employment numbers at the time, which had not yet seen as significant of a decline as would be expected in a full recessionary environment, which is generally marked by a broad decline in economic activity across the economy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Pale Recession'

Greenspan used this term in a television interview with Bloomberg on May 4, 2008. When asked whether the U.S. was in a recession he responded, "We're in a recession ... but this is an awfully pale recession at the moment. The declines in employment have not been as big as you'd expect to see."

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