Recession

In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction when there is a general decline in economic activity.[1][2] In the United States, it is defined as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales."[3] In the United Kingdom, it is defined as a negative economic growth for two consecutive quarters.[4][5]

Recessions generally occur when there is a widespread drop in spending (an adverse demand shock). This may be triggered by various events, such as a financial crisis, an external trade shock, an adverse supply shock or the bursting of an economic bubble. Governments usually respond to recessions by adopting expansionary macroeconomic policies, such as increasing money supply, increasing government spending and decreasing taxation.

Definition

In a 1974 The New York Times article, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Julius Shiskin suggested several rules of thumb for defining a recession, one of which was two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.[6] In time, the other rules of thumb were forgotten. Some economists prefer a definition of a 1.5-2 percentage points rise in unemployment within 12 months.[7]

In the United States, the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is generally seen as the authority for dating US recessions. The NBER, a private economic research organization, defines an economic recession as: "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales."[8] Almost universally, academics, economists, policy makers, and businesses refer to the determination by the NBER for the precise dating of a recession's onset and end.

In the United Kingdom, recessions are generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, as measured by the seasonal adjusted quarter-on-quarter figures for real GDP,[4][5] with the same definition being used for all other member states of the European Union. [9]

Attributes

A recession has many attributes that can occur simultaneously and includes declines in component measures of economic activity (GDP) such as consumption, investment, government spending, and net export activity. These summary measures reflect underlying drivers such as employment levels and skills, household savings rates, corporate investment decisions, interest rates, demographics, and government policies.

Economist Richard C. Koo wrote that under ideal conditions, a country's economy should have the household sector as net savers and the corporate sector as net borrowers, with the government budget nearly balanced and net exports near zero.[10][11] When these relationships become imbalanced, recession can develop within the country or create pressure for recession in another country. Policy responses are often designed to drive the economy back towards this ideal state of balance.

A severe (GDP down by 10%) or prolonged (three or four years) recession is referred to as an economic depression, although some argue that their causes and cures can be different.[7] As an informal shorthand, economists sometimes refer to different recession shapes, such as V-shaped, U-shaped, L-shaped and W-shaped recessions.

Type of recession or shape

The type and shape of recessions are distinctive. In the US, v-shaped, or short-and-sharp contractions followed by rapid and sustained recovery, occurred in 1954 and 1990–91; U-shaped (prolonged slump) in 1974–75, and W-shaped, or double-dip recessions in 1949 and 1980–82. Japan’s 1993–94 recession was U-shaped and its 8-out-of-9 quarters of contraction in 1997–99 can be described as L-shaped. Korea, Hong Kong and South-east Asia experienced U-shaped recessions in 1997–98, although Thailand’s eight consecutive quarters of decline should be termed L-shaped.[12]

Psychological aspects

Recessions have psychological and confidence aspects. For example, if companies expect economic activity to slow, they may reduce employment levels and save money rather than invest. Such expectations can create a self-reinforcing downward cycle, bringing about or worsening a recession.[13] Consumer confidence is one measure used to evaluate economic sentiment.[14] The term animal spirits has been used to describe the psychological factors underlying economic activity. Economist Robert J. Shiller wrote that the term "...refers also to the sense of trust we have in each other, our sense of fairness in economic dealings, and our sense of the extent of corruption and bad faith. When animal spirits are on ebb, consumers do not want to spend and businesses do not want to make capital expenditures or hire people."[15]

Balance sheet recession

High levels of indebtedness or the bursting of a real estate or financial asset price bubble can cause what is called a "balance sheet recession." This is when large numbers of consumers or corporations pay down debt (i.e., save) rather than spend or invest, which slows the economy. The term balance sheet derives from an accounting identity that holds that assets must always equal the sum of liabilities plus equity. If asset prices fall below the value of the debt incurred to purchase them, then the equity must be negative, meaning the consumer or corporation is insolvent. Economist Paul Krugman wrote in 2014 that "the best working hypothesis seems to be that the financial crisis was only one manifestation of a broader problem of excessive debt—that it was a so-called "balance sheet recession." In Krugman's view, such crises require debt reduction strategies combined with higher government spending to offset declines from the private sector as it pays down its debt.[16]

For example, economist Richard Koo wrote that Japan's "Great Recession" that began in 1990 was a "balance sheet recession." It was triggered by a collapse in land and stock prices, which caused Japanese firms to have negative equity, meaning their assets were worth less than their liabilities. Despite zero interest rates and expansion of the money supply to encourage borrowing, Japanese corporations in aggregate opted to pay down their debts from their own business earnings rather than borrow to invest as firms typically do. Corporate investment, a key demand component of GDP, fell enormously (22% of GDP) between 1990 and its peak decline in 2003. Japanese firms overall became net savers after 1998, as opposed to borrowers. Koo argues that it was massive fiscal stimulus (borrowing and spending by the government) that offset this decline and enabled Japan to maintain its level of GDP. In his view, this avoided a U.S. type Great Depression, in which U.S. GDP fell by 46%. He argued that monetary policy was ineffective because there was limited demand for funds while firms paid down their liabilities. In a balance sheet recession, GDP declines by the amount of debt repayment and un-borrowed individual savings, leaving government stimulus spending as the primary remedy.[10][11][17][18]

Krugman discussed the balance sheet recession concept during 2010, agreeing with Koo's situation assessment and view that sustained deficit spending when faced with a balance sheet recession would be appropriate. However, Krugman argued that monetary policy could also affect savings behavior, as inflation or credible promises of future inflation (generating negative real interest rates) would encourage less savings. In other words, people would tend to spend more rather than save if they believe inflation is on the horizon. In more technical terms, Krugman argues that the private sector savings curve is elastic even during a balance sheet recession (responsive to changes in real interest rates) disagreeing with Koo's view that it is inelastic (non-responsive to changes in real interest rates).[19][20]

A July 2012 survey of balance sheet recession research reported that consumer demand and employment are affected by household leverage levels. Both durable and non-durable goods consumption declined as households moved from low to high leverage with the decline in property values experienced during the subprime mortgage crisis. Further, reduced consumption due to higher household leverage can account for a significant decline in employment levels. Policies that help reduce mortgage debt or household leverage could therefore have stimulative effects.[21][22]

Liquidity trap

A liquidity trap is a Keynesian theory that a situation can develop in which interest rates reach near zero (zero interest-rate policy) yet do not effectively stimulate the economy. In theory, near-zero interest rates should encourage firms and consumers to borrow and spend. However, if too many individuals or corporations focus on saving or paying down debt rather than spending, lower interest rates have less effect on investment and consumption behavior; the lower interest rates are like "pushing on a string." Economist Paul Krugman described the U.S. 2009 recession and Japan's lost decade as liquidity traps. One remedy to a liquidity trap is expanding the money supply via quantitative easing or other techniques in which money is effectively printed to purchase assets, thereby creating inflationary expectations that cause savers to begin spending again. Government stimulus spending and mercantilist policies to stimulate exports and reduce imports are other techniques to stimulate demand.[23] He estimated in March 2010 that developed countries representing 70% of the world's GDP were caught in a liquidity trap.[24]

Paradoxes of thrift and deleveraging

Behavior that may be optimal for an individual (e.g., saving more during adverse economic conditions) can be detrimental if too many individuals pursue the same behavior, as ultimately one person's consumption is another person's income. Too many consumers attempting to save (or pay down debt) simultaneously is called the paradox of thrift and can cause or deepen a recession. Economist Hyman Minsky also described a "paradox of deleveraging" as financial institutions that have too much leverage (debt relative to equity) cannot all de-leverage simultaneously without significant declines in the value of their assets.[25]

During April 2009, U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen discussed these paradoxes: "Once this massive credit crunch hit, it didn’t take long before we were in a recession. The recession, in turn, deepened the credit crunch as demand and employment fell, and credit losses of financial institutions surged. Indeed, we have been in the grips of precisely this adverse feedback loop for more than a year. A process of balance sheet deleveraging has spread to nearly every corner of the economy. Consumers are pulling back on purchases, especially on durable goods, to build their savings. Businesses are cancelling planned investments and laying off workers to preserve cash. And, financial institutions are shrinking assets to bolster capital and improve their chances of weathering the current storm. Once again, Minsky understood this dynamic. He spoke of the paradox of deleveraging, in which precautions that may be smart for individuals and firms—and indeed essential to return the economy to a normal state—nevertheless magnify the distress of the economy as a whole."[25]

Predictors

There are no known completely reliable predictors, but the following are considered possible predictors.[26]

  • Inverted yield curve,[27] the model developed by economist Jonathan H. Wright, uses yields on 10-year and three-month Treasury securities as well as the Fed's overnight funds rate.[28] Another model developed by Federal Reserve Bank of New York economists uses only the 10-year/three-month spread. It is, however, not a definite indicator;[29]
  • The three-month change in the unemployment rate and initial jobless claims.[30]
  • Index of Leading (Economic) Indicators (includes some of the above indicators).[31]
  • Lowering of asset prices, such as homes and financial assets, or high personal and corporate debt levels.

Analysis by Prakash Loungani of the International Monetary Fund found that only two of the sixty recessions around the world during the 1990s had been predicted by a consensus of economists one year earlier, while there were zero consensus predictions one year earlier for the 49 recessions during 2009.[32]

Government responses

Most mainstream economists believe that recessions are caused by inadequate aggregate demand in the economy, and favor the use of expansionary macroeconomic policy during recessions. Strategies favored for moving an economy out of a recession vary depending on which economic school the policymakers follow. Monetarists would favor the use of expansionary monetary policy, while Keynesian economists may advocate increased government spending to spark economic growth. Supply-side economists may suggest tax cuts to promote business capital investment. When interest rates reach the boundary of an interest rate of zero percent (zero interest-rate policy) conventional monetary policy can no longer be used and government must use other measures to stimulate recovery. Keynesians argue that fiscal policy—tax cuts or increased government spending—works when monetary policy fails. Spending is more effective because of its larger multiplier but tax cuts take effect faster.

For example, Paul Krugman wrote in December 2010 that significant, sustained government spending was necessary because indebted households were paying down debts and unable to carry the U.S. economy as they had previously: "The root of our current troubles lies in the debt American families ran up during the Bush-era housing bubble...highly indebted Americans not only can’t spend the way they used to, they’re having to pay down the debts they ran up in the bubble years. This would be fine if someone else were taking up the slack. But what’s actually happening is that some people are spending much less while nobody is spending more — and this translates into a depressed economy and high unemployment. What the government should be doing in this situation is spending more while the private sector is spending less, supporting employment while those debts are paid down. And this government spending needs to be sustained..."[33]

Stock market

Some recessions have been anticipated by stock market declines. In Stocks for the Long Run, Siegel mentions that since 1948, ten recessions were preceded by a stock market decline, by a lead time of 0 to 13 months (average 5.7 months), while ten stock market declines of greater than 10% in the Dow Jones Industrial Average were not followed by a recession.[34]

The real-estate market also usually weakens before a recession.[35] However real-estate declines can last much longer than recessions.[36]

Since the business cycle is very hard to predict, Siegel argues that it is not possible to take advantage of economic cycles for timing investments. Even the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) takes a few months to determine if a peak or trough has occurred in the US.[37]

During an economic decline, high yield stocks such as fast-moving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco tend to hold up better.[38] However, when the economy starts to recover and the bottom of the market has passed, growth stocks tend to recover faster. There is significant disagreement about how health care and utilities tend to recover.[39] Diversifying one's portfolio into international stocks may provide some safety; however, economies that are closely correlated with that of the U.S. may also be affected by a recession in the U.S.[40]

There is a view termed the halfway rule[41] according to which investors start discounting an economic recovery about halfway through a recession. In the 16 U.S. recessions since 1919, the average length has been 13 months, although the recent recessions have been shorter. Thus, if the 2008 had recession followed the average, the downturn in the stock market would have bottomed around November 2008. The actual US stock market bottom of the 2008 recession was in March 2009.

Politics

Generally an administration gets credit or blame for the state of economy during its time.[42] This has caused disagreements about on how it actually started.[43] In an economic cycle, a downturn can be considered a consequence of an expansion reaching an unsustainable state, and is corrected by a brief decline. Thus it is not easy to isolate the causes of specific phases of the cycle.

The 1981 recession is thought to have been caused by the tight-money policy adopted by Paul Volcker, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, before Ronald Reagan took office. Reagan supported that policy. Economist Walter Heller, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the 1960s, said that "I call it a Reagan-Volcker-Carter recession.[44] The resulting taming of inflation did, however, set the stage for a robust growth period during Reagan's.

Economists usually teach that to some degree recession is unavoidable, and its causes are not well understood. Consequently, modern government administrations attempt to take steps, also not agreed upon, to soften a recession.

Consequences

Unemployment

Unemployment is particularly high during a recession. Many economists working within the neoclassical paradigm argue that there is a natural rate of unemployment which, when subtracted from the actual rate of unemployment, can be used to calculate the negative GDP gap during a recession. In other words, unemployment never reaches 0 percent, and thus is not a negative indicator of the health of an economy unless above the "natural rate," in which case it corresponds directly to a loss in gross domestic product, or GDP.[45]

The full impact of a recession on employment may not be felt for several quarters. Research in Britain shows that low-skilled, low-educated workers and the young are most vulnerable to unemployment[46] in a downturn. After recessions in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s, it took five years for unemployment to fall back to its original levels.[47] Many companies often expect employment discrimination claims to rise during a recession.[48]

Business

Productivity tends to fall in the early stages of a recession, then rises again as weaker firms close. The variation in profitability between firms rises sharply. Recessions have also provided opportunities for anti-competitive mergers, with a negative impact on the wider economy: the suspension of competition policy in the United States in the 1930s may have extended the Great Depression.[47]

Social effects

The living standards of people dependent on wages and salaries are not more affected by recessions than those who rely on fixed incomes or welfare benefits. The loss of a job is known to have a negative impact on the stability of families, and individuals' health and well-being. Fixed income benefits receive small cuts which make it tougher to survive.[47]

History

Global

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), "Global recessions seem to occur over a cycle lasting between eight and 10 years."[49] The IMF takes many factors into account when defining a global recession. Until April 2009, IMF several times communicated to the press, that a global annual real GDP growth of 3.0 percent or less in their view was "...equivalent to a global recession."[50][51] By this measure, six periods since 1970 qualify: 1974–1975,[52] 1980–1983,[52] 1990–1993,[52][53] 1998,[52][53] 2001–2002,[52][53] and 2008–2009.[54] During what IMF in April 2002 termed the past three global recessions of the last three decades, global per capita output growth was zero or negative, and IMF argued—at that time—that because of the opposite being found for 2001, the economic state in this year by itself did not qualify as a global recession.[49]

In April 2009, IMF had changed their Global recession definition to:

  • A decline in annual per‑capita real World GDP (purchasing power parity weighted), backed up by a decline or worsening for one or more of the seven other global macroeconomic indicators: Industrial production, trade, capital flows, oil consumption, unemployment rate, per‑capita investment, and per‑capita consumption.[55][56]

By this new definition, a total of four global recessions took place since World War II: 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2009. All of them only lasted one year, although the third would have lasted three years (1991–93) if IMF as criteria had used the normal exchange rate weighted per‑capita real World GDP rather than the purchase power parity weighted per‑capita real World GDP.[55][56]

Australia

The worst recession Australia has ever suffered happened in the beginning of the 1930s. As a result of late 1920s profit issues in agriculture and cutbacks, 1931-1932 saw Australia’s biggest recession in its entire history. It fared better than other nations, that underwent depressions, but their poor economic states influenced Australia’s as well, that depended on them for export, as well as foreign investments. The nation also benefited from bigger productivity in manufacturing, facilitated by trade protection, which also helped with feeling the effects less.

Due to a credit squeeze, the economy had gone into a brief recession in 1961 Australia was facing a rising level of inflation in 1973, caused partially by the oil crisis happening in that same year, which brought inflation at a 13% increase. Economic recession hit by the middle of the year 1974, with no change in policy enacted by the government as a measure to counter the economic situation of the country. Consequently, the unemployment level rose and the trade deficit increased significantly.[57]

Another recession – the most recent one to date – came in the 1990s, at the beginning of the decade. It was the result of a major stock collapse in 1987, in October,[58] referred to now as Black Monday. Although the collapse was larger than the one in 1929, the global economy recovered quickly, but North America still suffered a decline in lumbering savings and loans, which led to a crisis. The recession wasn’t limited to only America, but it also affected partnering nations, such as Australia. The unemployment level increased to 10.8%, employment declined by 3.4% and the GDP also decreased as much as 1.7%. Inflation, however, was successfully reduced.

United Kingdom

The most recent recession to affect the United Kingdom was the late-2000s recession.

United States

According to economists, since 1854, the U.S. has encountered 32 cycles of expansions and contractions, with an average of 17 months of contraction and 38 months of expansion.[8] However, since 1980 there have been only eight periods of negative economic growth over one fiscal quarter or more,[59] and four periods considered recessions:

For the past three recessions, the NBER decision has approximately conformed with the definition involving two consecutive quarters of decline. While the 2001 recession did not involve two consecutive quarters of decline, it was preceded by two quarters of alternating decline and weak growth.[59]

Late 2000s

Official economic data shows that a substantial number of nations were in recession as of early 2009. The US entered a recession at the end of 2007,[62] and 2008 saw many other nations follow suit. The US recession of 2007 ended in June 2009[63] as the nation entered the current economic recovery.

United States

The United States housing market correction (a consequence of the United States housing bubble) and subprime mortgage crisis significantly contributed to a recession.

The 2007–2009 recession saw private consumption fall for the first time in nearly 20 years. This indicated the depth and severity of the recession. With consumer confidence so low, economic recovery took a long time. Consumers in the U.S. were hit hard by the Great Recession, with the value of their houses dropping and their pension savings decimated on the stock market.[64]

U.S. employers shed 63,000 jobs in February 2008,[65] the most in five years. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said on 6 April 2008 that "There is more than a 50 percent chance the United States could go into recession."[66] On 1 October, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that an additional 156,000 jobs had been lost in September. On 29 April 2008, Moody's declared that nine US states were in a recession. In November 2008, employers eliminated 533,000 jobs, the largest single-month loss in 34 years.[67] In 2008, an estimated 2.6 million U.S. jobs were eliminated.[68]

The unemployment rate in the U.S. grew to 8.5 percent in March 2009, and there were 5.1 million job losses by March 2009 since the recession began in December 2007.[69] That was about five million more people unemployed compared to just a year prior,[70] which was the largest annual jump in the number of unemployed persons since the 1940s.[71]

Although the US Economy grew in the first quarter by 1%,[72][73] by June 2008 some analysts stated that due to a protracted credit crisis and "...rampant inflation in commodities such as oil, food, and steel," the country was nonetheless in a recession.[74] The third quarter of 2008 brought on a GDP retraction of 0.5%[75] the biggest decline since 2001. The 6.4% decline in spending during Q3 on non-durable goods, like clothing and food, was the largest since 1950.[76]

A 17 November 2008 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia based on the survey of 51 forecasters, suggested that the recession started in April 2008 and would last 14 months.[77] They project real GDP declining at an annual rate of 2.9% in the fourth quarter and 1.1% in the first quarter of 2009. These forecasts represent significant downward revisions from the forecasts of three months ago.

A 1 December 2008 report from the National Bureau of Economic Research stated that the U.S. had been in a recession since December 2007 (when economic activity peaked), based on a number of measures including job losses, declines in personal income, and declines in real GDP.[78] By July 2009 a growing number of economists believed that the recession may have ended.[79][80] The National Bureau of Economic Research announced on 20 September 2010 that the 2008/2009 recession ended in June 2009, making it the longest recession since World War II.[81]

See also

References

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External links

1973–75 recession

The 1973–75 recession or 1970s recession was a period of economic stagnation in much of the Western world during the 1970s, putting an end to the overall Post–World War II economic expansion. It differed from many previous recessions by being a stagflation, where high unemployment and high inflation existed simultaneously.

Black Monday (1987)

In finance, Black Monday refers to Monday, October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed. The crash began in Hong Kong and spread west to Europe, hitting the United States after other markets had already sustained significant declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell exactly 508 points to 1,738.74 (22.61%). In Australia and New Zealand, the 1987 crash is also referred to as "Black Tuesday" because of the time zone difference.

The terms Black Monday and Black Tuesday are also respectively applied to October 28 and October 29, 1929, which occurred after Black Thursday on October 24, which started the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

Depression (economics)

In economics, a depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a recession, which is a slowdown in economic activity over the course of a normal business cycle.

Depressions are characterized by their length, by abnormally large increases in unemployment, falls in the availability of credit (often due to some form of banking or financial crisis), shrinking output as buyers dry up and suppliers cut back on production and investment, more bankruptcies including sovereign debt defaults, significantly reduced amounts of trade and commerce (especially international trade), as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations (often due to currency devaluations). Price deflation, financial crises and bank failures are also common elements of a depression that do not normally occur during a recession.

Depression of 1920–21

The Depression of 1920–21 was a sharp deflationary recession in the United States and other countries, beginning 14 months after the end of World War I. It lasted from January 1920 to July 1921. The extent of the deflation was not only large, but large relative to the accompanying decline in real product.There was a brief post–World War I recession immediately following the end of the war which lasted for 2 years, complicating the absorption of millions of veterans into the economy. The economy started to grow, but it had not yet completed all the adjustments in shifting from a wartime to a peacetime economy.

Factors identified as contributing to the downturn include returning troops, which created a surge in the civilian labor force and problems in absorbing the veterans; a decline in labor union strife; changes in fiscal and monetary policy; and changes in price expectations.

Following the end of the depression, the Roaring Twenties brought a period of economic prosperity.

Early 1980s recession

The early 1980s recession was a severe global economic recession that affected much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The United States and Japan exited the recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect other OECD nations until at least 1985.Long-term effects of the recession contributed to the Latin American debt crisis, the US savings and loans crisis, and a general adoption of neoliberal economic policies throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Early 1990s recession

The early 1990s recession describes the period of economic downturn affecting much of the Western world in the early 1990s.

Early 2000s recession

The early 2000s recession was a decline in economic activity which mainly occurred in developed countries. The recession affected the European Union during 2000 and 2001 and the United States in 2002 and 2003. The UK, Canada and Australia avoided the recession, while Russia, a nation that did not experience prosperity during the 1990s, in fact began to recover from said situation. Japan's 1990s recession continued. This recession was predicted by economists, because the boom of the 1990s (accompanied by both low inflation and low unemployment) slowed in some parts of East Asia during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The recession in industrialized countries was not as significant as either of the two previous worldwide recessions. Some economists in the United States object to characterizing it as a recession since there were no two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Economy of Australia

The economy of Australia is a large mixed-market economy, with a GDP of A$1.69 trillion as of 2017. In 2018 Australia became the country with the largest median wealth per adult. Australia's total wealth was AUD$8.9 trillion as of June 2016. In 2017, Australia was the 13th-largest national economy by nominal GDP, 20th-largest by PPP-adjusted GDP, and was the 25th-largest goods exporter and 20th-largest goods importer. Australia took the record for the longest run of uninterrupted GDP growth in the developed world with the March 2017 financial quarter, the 103rd quarter and marked 26 years since the country had a technical recession (two consecutive quarters of negative growth).The Australian economy is dominated by its service sector, comprising 61.1% of the GDP and employing 79.2% of the labour force in 2016. East Asia (including ASEAN and Northeast Asia) is a top export destination, accounting for about 64% of exports in 2016. Australia has the eighth-highest total estimated value of natural resources, valued at US$19.9 trillion in 2016. At the height of the mining boom in 2009–10, the total value-added of the mining industry was 8.4% of GDP. Despite the recent decline in the mining sector, the Australian economy has remained resilient and stable and has not experienced a recession since July 1991.The Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney is the 16th-largest stock exchange in the world in terms of domestic market capitalisation and has the largest interest rate derivatives market in Asia. Some of Australia's large companies include but are not limited to: Wesfarmers, Woolworths, Rio Tinto Group, BHP Billiton, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac, ANZ, Macquarie Group, Telstra and Caltex Australia. The currency of Australia and its territories is the Australian dollar which it shares with several Pacific nation states.

Australia is a member of the APEC, G20, OECD and WTO. The country has also entered into free trade agreements with ASEAN, Canada, Chile, China, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. The ANZCERTA agreement with New Zealand has greatly increased integration with the economy of New Zealand and in 2011 there was a plan to form an Australasian Single Economic Market by 2015.

Glacial motion

Glacial motion is the motion of glaciers, which can be likened to rivers of ice. It has played an important role in sculpting many landscapes. Most lakes in the world occupy basins scoured out by glaciers. Glacial motion can be fast (up to 30 m/day, observed on Jakobshavn Isbræ in Greenland) or slow (0.5 m/year on small glaciers or in the center of ice sheets), but is typically around 1 metre/day.

Great Depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.The Great Depression started in the United States after a major fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929, and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929, (known as Black Tuesday). Between 1929 and 1932, worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15%. By comparison, worldwide GDP fell by less than 1% from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession. Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. However, in many countries the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II.The Great Depression had devastating effects in countries both rich and poor. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25% and in some countries rose as high as 33%.Cities around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming communities and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by about 60%. Facing plummeting demand with few alternative sources of jobs, areas dependent on primary sector industries such as mining and logging suffered the most.

Great Recession

The Great Recession (see "Terminology" for other names) was a period of general economic decline observed in world markets during the late 2000s and early 2010s. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country (see map). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded that it had the most severe economic and financial meltdown ever since the Great Depression and it is frequently seen as the second worst downturn of all time.The Great Recession stemmed from the collapse of the United States real-estate market in relation to the global financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 and the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis of 2007 to 2009, though policies of other nations contributed as well. According to the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research (the official arbiter of U.S. recessions), the recession in the U.S. began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, thus extending over 19 months. The Great Recession resulted in a scarcity of valuable assets in the market economy and the collapse of the financial sector (banks) in the world economy; some banks were bailed out by the U.S. federal government.The recession was not felt equally around the world; whereas most of the world's developed economies, particularly in North America and Europe, fell into a definitive recession, many more recently developed economies suffered far less impact, particularly China and India, whose economies grew substantially during this period.

Great Recession in Europe

The European recession is part of the Great Recession, which began inside the United States. The crisis spread to Europe rapidly and affected much of the region with several countries already in recession as of February 2009, and most others suffering marked economic setbacks. The global recession was first seen in Europe, as Ireland was the first country to fall in a recession from Q2-Q3 2007 – followed by temporary growth in Q4 2007 – and then a two-year-long recession.

Great Recession in South America

The Great Recession in South America, as it mainly consists of commodity exporters, was not directly affected by the financial turmoil, even if the bond markets of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela have been hit.On the other hand, the continent experienced a tough agricultural crisis at the beginning of 2008. Food prices have increased a lot, due to a lack of arable land. One of the main reasons for the loss of agricultural land was the high value offered by the production of biofuels. However, second generation biofuel processes is slowly being implemented in order to extend the amount of biofuel that can be produced sustainably by using biomass consisting of the residual non-food parts of current crops, such as stems, leaves and husks. Other crops that are not used for food purposes (non food crops), such as switchgrass, grass, jatropha, whole crop maize, and miscanthus could be used to produce biofuels without starving the population that are dependent on food products. Industry waste products (i.e., woodchips, skins and pulp) from fruit pressing would also replace the need to waste arable land for biofuels; possibly improving the South American economy. Food prices, rising since 2002, ascended from 2006, reaching a peak during the first quarter of 2008. In one year the average price of food rose by about 50%.

Then South American countries were affected by both the global slowdown and the decrease in food prices due to the declining demand. In June 2008, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) declared it expected a 4% growth for 2009. However at the end of the year it predicted that the year 2009 would put an end to six years of prosperity during which Latin America has benefited from high raw material prices. Production in the region is likely to decline and unemployment to increase. However, the Center for Economic and Policy Research has estimated that the region may be able to cope with the global downturn with the right macro-economic policies, as these countries no longer depend on the U.S. economy.

Great Recession in the Americas

North America was one of the focal points of the global, Great Recession. While Canada has managed to return its economy nearly to the levels it enjoyed prior to the recession, the United States and Mexico are still under the influence of the worldwide economic slowdown. The cost of staple items dropped dramatically in the United States as a result of the recession.

Great Recession in the United States

The Great Recession in the United States was a severe financial crisis combined with a deep recession. While the recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, it took several years for the economy to recover to pre-crisis levels of employment and output. This slow recovery was due in part to households and financial institutions paying off debts accumulated in the years preceding the crisis along with restrained government spending following initial stimulus efforts. It followed the bursting of the housing bubble, the housing market correction and subprime mortgage crisis.

The U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission reported its findings in January 2011. It concluded that "the crisis was avoidable and was caused by: Widespread failures in financial regulation, including the Federal Reserve's failure to stem the tide of toxic mortgages; Dramatic breakdowns in corporate governance including too many financial firms acting recklessly and taking on too much risk; An explosive mix of excessive borrowing and risk by households and Wall Street that put the financial system on a collision course with crisis; Key policy makers ill prepared for the crisis, lacking a full understanding of the financial system they oversaw; and systemic breaches in accountability and ethics at all levels."According to the Department of Labor, roughly 8.7 million jobs (about 7%) were shed from February 2008 to February 2010, and real GDP contracted by 4.2% between Q4 2007 and Q2 2009, making the Great Recession the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The GDP bottom, or trough, was reached in the second quarter of 2009 (marking the technical end of the recession, defined as at least two consecutive quarters of declining GDP). Real (inflation-adjusted) GDP did not regain its pre-crisis (Q4 2007) peak level until Q3 2011. Unemployment rose from 4.7% in November 2007 to peak at 10% in October 2009, before returning steadily to 4.7% in May 2016. The total number of jobs did not return to November 2007 levels until May 2014.Households and non-profit organizations added approximately $8 trillion in debt during the 2000-2008 period (roughly doubling it and fueling the housing bubble), then reduced their debt level from the peak in Q3 2008 until Q3 2012, the only period this debt declined since at least the 1950s. However, the debt held by the public rose from 35% GDP in 2007 to 77% GDP by 2016, as the government spent more while the private sector (e.g., households and businesses, particularly the banking sector) reduced the debt burdens accumulated during the pre-recession decade. President Obama declared the bailout measures started under the Bush Administration and continued during his Administration as completed and mostly profitable as of December 2014.

Japanese Recession

Japan is currently facing a recession due to many occurring circumstances that have caused Japan's economy to slowly spiral down. On December 8, 2009; Japan's government reached an agreement regarding the financial crisis that the country is facing and has chosen to put a stimulus package into action. The stimulus package that Japan has put together will have a budget of 7.2 trillion yen (82 billion dollars) to help stimulate the country's decreased employment rate, give incentives for energy efficient products, and help give loans to business owners.In May 2009, the Japanese government approved a 2 trillion yen stimulus package for weaker and less stable Japanese corporations. In Japan, it is common for the government to assist weaker companies, versus less-common systems such as the American corporate bailouts.

List of recessions in the United States

There have been as many as 47 recessions in the United States dating back to the Articles of Confederation, and although economists and historians dispute certain 19th-century recessions, the consensus view among economists and historians is that "The cyclical volatility of GNP and unemployment was greater before the Great Depression than it has been since the end of World War II." Cycles in the country's agricultural production, industrial production, consumption, business investment, and the health of the banking industry contribute to these declines. U.S. recessions have increasingly affected economies on a worldwide scale, especially as countries' economies become more intertwined.

The unofficial beginning and ending dates of recessions in the United States have been defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an American private nonprofit research organization. The NBER defines a recession as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than two quarters which is 6 months, normally visible in real gross domestic product (GDP), real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales".In the 19th century, recessions frequently coincided with financial crises. Determining the occurrence of pre-20th-century recessions is more difficult due to the dearth of economic statistics, so scholars rely on historical accounts of economic activity, such as contemporary newspapers or business ledgers. Although the NBER does not date recessions before 1857, economists customarily extrapolate dates of U.S. recessions back to 1790 from business annals based on various contemporary descriptions. Their work is aided by historical patterns, in that recessions often follow external shocks to the economic system such as wars and variations in the weather affecting agriculture, as well as banking crises.Major modern economic statistics, such as unemployment and GDP, were not compiled on a regular and standardized basis until after World War II. The average duration of the 11 recessions between 1945 and 2001 is 10 months, compared to 18 months for recessions between 1919 and 1945, and 22 months for recessions from 1854 to 1919. Because of the great changes in the economy over the centuries, it is difficult to compare the severity of modern recessions to early recessions. No recession of the post-World War II era has come anywhere near the depth of the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 until 1941 and was caused by the 1929 crash of the stock market and other factors.

Post–World War I recession

The post–World War I recession was an economic recession that hit much of the world in the aftermath of World War I. In many nations, especially in North America, economic growth continued and even accelerated during World War I as nations mobilized their economies to fight the war in Europe. After the war ended, the global economy began to decline. In the United States, 1918–1919 saw a modest economic retreat, but the second part of 1919 saw a mild recovery. A more severe recession hit the United States in 1920 and 1921, when the global economy fell very sharply.

Recession of 1937–38

The recession of 1937–1938 was an economic downturn that occurred during the Great Depression in the United States.

By the spring of 1937, production, profits, and wages had regained their early 1929 levels. Unemployment remained high, but it was slightly lower than the 25% rate seen in 1933. The American economy took a sharp downturn in mid-1937, lasting for 13 months through most of 1938. Industrial production declined almost 30 percent, and production of durable goods fell even faster.

Unemployment jumped from 14.3% in May 1937 to 19.0% in June 1938. Manufacturing output fell by 37% from the 1937 peak and was back to 1934 levels.

Producers reduced their expenditures on durable goods, and inventories declined, but personal income was only 15% lower than it had been at the peak in 1937. In most sectors, hourly earnings continued to rise throughout the recession, partly compensating for the reduction in the number of hours worked. As unemployment rose, consumer expenditures declined, leading to further cutbacks in production.

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