It examines and compares the behavior of various measures of broad activity: real GDP measured on the product and income sides, economy-wide employment, and real income.
The Committee also may consider indicators that do not cover the entire economy, such as real sales and the Federal Reserve's index of industrial production (IP).
During a recession, a significant decline in economic activity spreads across the economy and can last from a few months to more than a year.
Similarly, during an expansion, economic activity rises substantially, spreads across the economy, and usually lasts for several years.
You may have to stretch your normal behavior — that is, you may have to reach out, assert yourself, be creative, act strategically and think outside the box.