America in recession: what history shows

The United States officially entered an economic recession in March, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced last week. The six-member panel of economists, based in Cambridge, Mass., is the unofficial arbiter of when recessions (by definition, at least six months of negative growth) begin and end.

Many economists predict the current recession will be short and mild, though plenty of factors could change that. A March beginning means the period of economic expansion lasted exactly 10 years - a record by more than a year. A look at previous recessions and their durations:

Start of Duration

recession (in months)

Feb. 1945 9

Nov. 1948 11

July 1953 10

Aug. 1957 9

April 1960 10

Dec. 1969 11

Nov. 1973 16

Jan. 1980 6

July 1981 16

July 1990 9

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