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Working Papers

Is This the Worst Ever?

Working paper #645
Peter Linneman and John Williams

Every time the U.S. economy slows, pundits claim that it is the worst recession ever and will drag on much longer than past recessions. These claims are frequently made when it is not even a recession, or after the recession is over and the economy is in the early stages of a recovery. The “recession” of 2008 is no different. By comparing 15 macroeconomic indicators in 2008 to the same metrics during the previous six recessions, the authors show that the Great Capital Strike of 2008 is so far the mildest economic downturn of the last forty years.

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