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What Is A Recession and When Is the Next One Going to Begin?

  • June 24, 2022

While people talk of “business cycles,” periods of growth followed by downturns, there is little regularity to how recessions occur.

Some can happen back-to-back, like the recession that began and ended in 1980, and the next, which started the following year, according to the bureau. Others have occurred a decade apart, as was the case with the downturn that ended in March 1991 as well as with the next one, which began in March 2001, following the 2000 dot-com crash.

On average, recessions since World War II have lasted just over 10 months each, according to the N.B.E.R., but of course there are some that stand out.

The Great Depression, which is seared in the memories of older Americans, began in 1929 and ended four years later, though many economists and historians define it more broadly, saying it didn’t end until 1941, when the economy mobilized for the nation’s entry into World War II.

The last two recessions highlight just how different they can be: The Great Recession lasted for 18 months after starting in late 2007 with the bursting of the housing bubble and resulting financial crisis. The recession at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 went on for just two months, making it the shortest ever, even though the downturn was a brutal experience for many people.

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