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11 months, when duration is measured from the previous cyclical peak to the low point or trough of the subsequent business contraction. The average duration of each cyclical expansion is 50 months, as measured by the amount of time from the previous cyclical trough to the peak of the following business expansion. Clearly, periods of economic expansion predominate, which indicates a healthy and growing economy.

On any given business day, a wide variety of news reports, press releases, and analyst comments can be found concerning the current state and future direction of the overall economy. The reason for intense interest is obvious. Whether the current economy is in a state of boom, moderate expansion, moderate contraction, or sharp decline, there is sure to be widespread disagreement among analysts concerning current or future business prospects. This reflects the fact that, despite intense interest and widespread news coverage, the causes of economic contractions and expansions remain something of a mystery. Why the economy shifts from boom to bust and how such shifts might be predicted and controlled are still largely beyond our knowledge. Hopefully, the ever-increasing quality of economic data and the amazing power of computer hardware and software will unlock further mysteries of the business cycle during the next few years. In the meantime, changes in the pattern and pace of economic activity remain a matter for intense debate and conjecture.

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