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Friday, January 02, 2009

Average Length of Recessions and Depressions

Last month the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) said we have officially entered a recession in December 2007. This puts the duration of the recession at 13 months. Between 1920 and 1991 the duration of all recessions was 6 to 18 months except for the Great Depression which was 43 months long.
Recession Time Span  Duration   GDP    Max    Diff.
Months UER %

Depressions
Jan. 1920-July 1921 18 n.a. 11.9 97
Aug. 1929-Mar. 1933 43 -32.6 24.9 100
May 1937-June 1938 13 -18.2 20.0 97

Six Sharp Recessions
May 1923-July 1924 14 -4.1 5.5 94
Nov. 1948-Oct. 1949 11 -1.5 7.9 90
July 1953-May 1954 10 -3.2 6.1 87
Aug. 1957-Apr. 1958 8 -3.3 7.5 88
Nov. 1973-Mar. 1975 16 -4.9 9.0 88
July 1981-Nov. 1982 16 -2.6 10.8 72

Five Mild Recessions
Oct. 1926-Nov. 1927 13 -2.0 4.4 71
Apr. 1960-Feb. 1961 10 -1.2 7.1 80
Dec. 1969-Nov. 1970 11 -1.0 6.1 80
Jan. 1980-July 1980 6 -2.5 7.8 63
July 1990-March 1991 8 -1.2 6.9 73

Averages
1920-1938 (5) 20 -14.2 13.3 92
1948-1991 (9) 11 -2.4 7.7 80

GDP = percent change in real GDP
Depth = Maximum Unemployment Rate
Diff = Diffusion or Percent of Industries with Declining Employment, maximu
Note that the brief and mild recession of 1945 is omitted in the above table.

SOURCE: "Recessions" by Geoffrey H. Moore

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