03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Recession 101: What Are the Signs?

Though the country is not yet officially in a recession, some economists argue the signs are pointing to one.

A dismal job report released Friday added to recession fears. With all the chatter about whether there is or isn't a recession, it can be difficult to determine your next move.

"Good Morning America" financial contributor Mellody Hobson explains what a recession is and what you should do to protect yourself.

What is a recession and are we in one?

We typically don't know we are in a recession until it's over, but all the important indicators point to a recession. The new, dismal jobs report we're hearing so much about, the pullback in consumer spending are signs. Despite all of that, we still can't say with absolute certainty that we are in a recession and that's because the definition of a recession is two quarters of shrinking growth. So, it takes a little while for the experts to look at the numbers and see if economic growth has been shrinking for a full six months. That said, we do know with certainty that the economy is in a serious downturn.

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