European countries, like most, use a simple rule of thumb: a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of falling GDP.
The committee will need to balance the mid-year date for output against the end-of-year date for employment.
Italians and the world have now been told that their economy slipped back into recession in the first half of 2014.
This characterization is based on the criterion for recession that is standard in Europe and most countries: two successive quarters of negative growth.
The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) sets the official dates for the beginning and end of recessions.
One might imagine that these are not exciting meetings, but the next few may be livelier.