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Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.

The average of real GDP and real GDI reached its low point in the second quarter of 2009.

There were two reasons for selecting the earlier date.

The first was described above -- the fact that quarterly real GDP and GDI rose strongly in the fourth quarter.

The second was that real GDI is a more comprehensive measure of income than real personal income less transfers, as it includes additional sources of income such as undistributed corporate profits.

The committee's use of income-side measures, notably real GDI, is based on the accounting principle that the value of output equals the sum of the incomes that arise from producing the output.

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