The National Bureau of Economic Research officially declared today that the U.S. economy is in recession. The bureau said the recession started last December, which prompts me to wonder, What took so long to make the official declaration?

Finally declaring a recession at this point is the understatement of the year. I could’ve told you the economy is in recession, as could any of the other 1.5 million Americans who lost their jobs this year. A Labor Department report due Friday is expected to show unemployment increased to 6.8 percent, the highest level since 1993. Economists anticipate the recession lasting at least a few more months, so the economic picture isn’t going to get any prettier anytime soon.

Hold onto your pocketbooks – if you have anything left in them.