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June 1994, Vol. 117, No. 6
Jennifer M. Gardner
T he United States experienced nine periods of widespread economic decline over the past 46 years. These periods-commonly referred to as recessions-were characterized by sharp and nearly simultaneous contractions in many activities, such as housing construction, car sales, and the placing of orders for durable goods. This economic weakness has always been accompanied by decreasing employment and increasing unemployment.
The most recent recession officially started in July 1990, bringing to a close the Nation's longest peacetime expansion on record. This recession officially ended about 8 months later in March 1991.1 By most economic measures, the 1990-91 downturn was mild compared to previous contractions. Yet, several factors unique to this recession and its aftermath made its impact on the U.S. work force quite severe:
This excerpt is from an article published in the June 1994 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 For a detailed explanation of the procedure used in determining the starting and ending points of recessions, see Geoffrey H. Moore, Business Cycles, Inflation, and Forecasting (Cambridge, MA, Ballinger Publishing Co., 1983), pp. 3-10.
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