First, I have omitted the very minor economic contraction of 1833, following Andrew Jackson’s phased withdrawal of government deposits from the Second Bank of the United States, since the impact on banks was almost entirely confined to the Second Bank and its branches.Second, I have included the more pronounced global financial crisis at the outbreak of World War I, in which the U. stock market was shut down for four months, although the emergency currency authorized under the Aldrich-Vreeland Act prevented bank suspensions.At the end of the post is a list of the most useful references I consulted. For the number and dating of recessions from 1948 forward, I have exclusively followed the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Moreover, between 19, the NBER reports a post-World War II recession lasting from February to October 1945 that was aware of at time, as easily confirmed by looking at the unemployment data as well as contemporary writings. The BEA’s original estimates showed only a minor downturn, subsequent revisions converted it into a major downturn, and the latest comprehensive revision of 2013 have reduced its magnitude, although not to the level of the BEA’s original estimates.I have almost entirely confined the list of major recessions to those constituting part of a standard business cycle, omitting periods of economic dislocation resulting from U. But prior to 1929, the NBER notoriously exaggerates the volatility of the U. For the pre-1929 period, therefore, I have only listed recessions that can be documented with unemployment data or more traditional historical evidence. I have still accepted NBER dating, which only goes back to 1857, for those pre-1929 recessions that I consider genuine, with the notable exception of 1873.In general usage, the word recession connotes a marked slippage in economic activity.While gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest measure of economic activity, the often-cited identification of a recession with two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth is not an official designation. The NBER recession is a monthly concept that takes account of a number of monthly indicators—such as employment, personal income, and industrial production—as well as quarterly GDP growth.Not all bank panics (periods of contagious runs and sometimes bank suspensions) were accompanied by numerous bank failures, nor were all periods of numerous failures accompanied by panics.
I have tried to integrate the best of the approaches of both economists and historians, using them to cross check each other.The unemployment data I have employed are the revisions of both J. In that case, the NBER dating (based on the Kuznets-Kendrick series) of a 65-month recession is so inconsistent with other evidence that it was even questioned by Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz in their (1963).This is one of the most striking cases in which some observers at the time and many economists today have confused mild secular deflation with a depression – a confusion exposed by George Selgin in (1997). GDP prior to the Civil War are even more problematic, making precise monthly dating of recessions impossible.My chronology therefore differs in important ways from prior lists.
One of the table’s benefits is that it gives a visual presentation of which recessions were accompanied by bank panics and which were not.
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