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Business Cycle and Markets

By News Canvass | Mar 01, 2023

Business Cycle

  • When the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fluctuates around its long-term natural growth rate, it is said to be in a business cycle. It shows how an economy changes through time, expanding and contracting in terms of economic activity.
  • When a business cycle experiences a single expansion followed by a single contraction, it is said to be complete. The duration of the business cycle is the amount of time needed to complete this sequence.
  • A recession is characterized by a time of relatively stagnant economic growth, whereas a boom is characterized by a period of strong economic expansion. These are gauged by the increase in real GDP, which has been adjusted for inflation.

What Is A Business Cycle?


  • Business cycles are one type of variation that can occur in a nation’s total economic activity. A business cycle consists of broad-based economic activity expansions that nearly coincide with one another, followed by broadly based economic activity contractions (recessions).
  • This set of changes happens periodically but not repeatedly. The business cycle is a prime example of an economic cycle.
  • The cyclical ups and downs in economic activity are referred to as “business cycles” by economists. The economy is made up of all business, labor, and consumer activity that generates, trades, and provides products and services to Americans. As a result, the observed level of productivity and the business cycle are related.
  • It’s crucial to realize that there can be little swings inside an economic phase that provide the impression that the economy is changing. Using quarterly GDP growth rates, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) identifies which economic cycle the country is now experiencing.
  • Additionally, it makes use of monthly economic statistics like retail sales, real personal income, industrial production, and employment.

4 Phases Of The Business Cycle

Businesses require more personnel as their output rises. As a result, more workers are employed, there is more money available for spending, firms make more money, and they can concentrate on expanding. Economic expansion is the process by which production and consumption move in a positive direction. It keeps going until something happens that slows down output. There is a reduction in labor force requirements as corporate production slows. As a result, consumers have less money to spend, and firms invest less in expansion. “Economic contraction” refers to the rate at which consumption and production are changing negatively as a whole. Markets and economies frequently experience boom and bust stages, which are known as economic cycles. Imagine it as a wave:

  • Taking off from a trough,
  • At the crest, the peak,
  • From the peak, the wave descends (“contracts”),
  • hits the bottom, recovers, and then starts over.


  • Interest rates are frequently low throughout the boom phase, which makes it simpler for people and businesses to borrow money. Businesses start to increase output to keep up with rising customer demand for consumer products.
  • Businesses can boost productivity by hiring more employees or by spending money to develop their physical facilities and operational capabilities. Corporate profits typically start to increase along with stock prices. As the economy starts to experience a “boom” cycle, the gross domestic product (GDP) likewise starts to increase.


  • The economy’s rate of expansion has reached its maximum at this point. There comes a time when firms may no longer be able to increase production and supply to keep up with rising consumer demand. Some businesses could find that they need to increase their manufacturing capacity, which requires additional spending or investment.
  • A spike in production costs may also start to affect businesses, forcing some to pass these expenses on to customers in the form of higher pricing. When growth accelerates to its fastest rate, the economy reaches its peak for that cycle. Prices and economic indicators may stabilize at this point in the economic cycle before making a quick turn to the downside. Economic imbalances caused by peak growth are often resolved.


  • Then the economic downturn starts. At this point, consumer spending on discretionary (such as upscale) items and company earnings are starting to decline. As investors shift their money to “safe” assets like Treasury bonds and other fixed-income assets, as well as good ole cash, stock valuations also decrease. Due to the decline in spending, GDP declines.
  • As demand declines, production slows. A temporary hiring freeze or the use of layoffs by enterprises can also result in a loss in employment and income. An overall slowdown in economic activity is followed by a bear market in stocks and a recession.
  • While some recessions are modest, others, like the Great Depression, are exceptionally severe and protracted. During a depression, a lot of firms permanently closed.
  • The Federal Reserve typically lowers interest rates when the economy appears to be experiencing a severe contraction so that people and businesses can borrow money for cheap spending and investment. To boost consumer spending and the demand for goods and services, lawmakers may adjust tax policy and/or ask the Treasury Department to offer economic stimulus.


  • The economy enters the recovery phase when it reaches its lowest point, bottoms out, and restarts the cycle. Acts made during the contraction phase start to pay off. Businesses that laid off employees during the contraction started to expand once more.
  • As investors realize that equities have higher prospective returns than bonds, stock values often increase. To keep up with increased consumer demand, production increases.

Introduction Of The Business Cycle

  • Business cycles are made up of coordinated cyclical upswings and downswings in output, employment, income, and sales, which are four broad indices of economic activity. In the business cycle, expansions and contractions alternate (also called recessions).Recessions frequently begin at the business cycle’s high, when an expansion comes to an end, and finish at its trough, when the following expansion starts. A recession’s depth, diffusion, and duration are gauged, while an expansion’s strength is determined by how strong, ubiquitous, and persistent it is.

Concept Of The Business Cycle.

  • Business cycles are essentially identified by the movement of economic variables during each cycle phase and the alternating phases of growth and contraction in overall economic activity. Real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) GDP, which measures aggregate output, as well as aggregate measures of industrial production, employment, income, and sales, which are the main coincident economic indicators used for the official determination of U.S. business cycle peak and trough dates, all represent aggregate economic activity.
  • One common misunderstanding is that a recession is merely two-quarters of real GDP drop. Notably, the real GDP fell two consecutive quarters during neither the 1960–1961 nor the 2001 recessions. In reality, a recession is a particular kind of vicious cycle with cascading decreases in output, employment, income, and sales that feedback into a further decline in output, quickly spreading from industry to industry and region to region.
  • The movement of these congruent economic indicators and the recession’s persistence are both fueled by this domino effect, which is essential for the diffusion of recessionary weakness across the economy.
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