The so-called Great Recession officially ended in June of 2009 after 18 months according to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). 18 months marks the longest downturn in the United States since the Great Depression. The previous record had been 16 months. Recessions are now officially defined by NBER based on a variety of economic indicators. Nearly every major economic indicator reached its low point in June of 2009 and has been in recovery since July 2009. The major exception was employment, which reached its worst point several months later. Unemployment peaked in October of 2009 at 10.1%. But unemployment typically lags broader economic indicators; in 2001 unemployment peaked a whole 19 months after GDP troughed.
Uncommonly long, the recession was also uncommonly deep. Output dropped more in this recession than in any other postwar recession. On the other hand, the economy was so bubbled before the recession that it hasn't fallen as far bellow "normal" capacity as it did in the 1981-82 recession. And while more jobs have been lost than in any postwar recession, the unemployment rate peaked at 10.1% as compared to 10.8% in 1982. But , the workforce today is older, more established and unemployment "ought" to have stayed lower. Whether or not this recession was the most severe or second most severe since the Great Depression, it does have one notable and disturbing difference from all others. Other recessions of such depth were followed by similarly robust bounce-backs. The recovery from this recession has been so slow that fears of a double-dip recession surfaced and output still remains below pre-recession levels.
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