Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936.
World map showing real GDP growth rates for 2009; countries in brown were in a recession.
The unemployment rate in the U.S. during 1910–60, with the years of the Great Depression (1929–39) highlighted
A bank run at a branch of the Northern Rock bank in Brighton, England, on September 14, 2007, amid speculation of problems, prior to its 2008 nationalisation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1928–1930
U.S. residential and non-residential investment fell relative to GDP during the crisis
Money supply decreased considerably between Black Tuesday and the Bank Holiday in March 1933 when there were massive bank runs across the United States.
U.S. households and financial businesses significantly increased borrowing (leverage) in the years leading up to the crisis
Crowd gathering at the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street after the 1929 crash
US household debt relative to disposable income and GDP.
U.S. industrial production, 1928–1939
U.S. Changes in Household Debt as a percentage of GDP for 1989–2016. Homeowners paying down debt for 2009–2012 was a headwind to the recovery. Economist Carmen Reinhart explained that this behavior tends to slow recoveries from financial crises relative to typical recessions.
The Great Depression in the U.S. from a monetary view. Real gross domestic product in 1996-Dollar (blue), price index (red), money supply M2 (green) and number of banks (grey). All data adjusted to 1929 = 100%.
Housing price appreciation in selected countries, 2002–2008
Crowd at New York's American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression
Securitization markets were impaired during the crisis.
Crowds outside the Bank of United States in New York after its failure in 1931
Several major U.S. economic variables had recovered from the 2007–2009 Subprime mortgage crisis and Great Recession by the 2013–2014 time period.
U.S. Real GDP – Contributions to Percent Change by Component 2007–2009
Power farming displaces tenants from the land in the western dry cotton area. Childress County, Texas, 1938
Public Debt to GDP Ratio for Selected European Countries – 2008 to 2011. Source Data: Eurostat
The Depression in international perspective
Relationship between fiscal tightening (austerity) in Eurozone countries with their GDP growth rate, 2008–2012
The overall course of the Depression in the United States, as reflected in per-capita GDP (average income per person) shown in constant year 2000 dollars, plus some of the key events of the period. Dotted red line = long-term trend 1920–1970.
Slovenian anarchist anti-fascist protest due to the great recession.
A female factory worker in 1942, Fort Worth, Texas. Women entered the workforce as men were drafted into the armed forces.
Sydney's financial district at night. Throughout the Great Recession, the Australian economy remained resilient and stable.
An impoverished American family living in a shanty, 1936
The anti-austerity movement in Spain, May 2011
Unemployed men march in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Federal Reserve Holdings of Treasury and Mortgage-Backed Securities
Adolf Hitler speaking in 1935
Bank bailouts in the United Kingdom and in the United States in proportion to their GDPs.
Benito Mussolini giving a speech at the Fiat Lingotto factory in Turin, 1932
Unemployed people in front of a workhouse in London, 1930
Unemployed men standing in line outside a depression soup kitchen in Chicago 1931.
Burning shacks on the Anacostia flats, Washington, D.C. put up by the Bonus Army (World War I veterans) after the marchers with their wives and children were driven out by the regular Army by order of President Hoover, 1932
Buried machinery in a barn lot; South Dakota, May 1936. The Dust Bowl on the Great Plains coincided with the Great Depression.
CCC workers constructing drainage culvert, 1933. Over 3 million unemployed young men were taken out of the cities and placed into 2,600+ work camps managed by the CCC.
The WPA employed 2–3 million at unskilled labor.
Black Friday, May 9, 1873, Vienna Stock Exchange. The Panic of 1873 and Long Depression followed.

At the time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded that it was the most severe economic and financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

- Great Recession

By comparison, worldwide GDP fell by less than 1% from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession.

- Great Depression
Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936.

5 related topics

Alpha

The supply and demand model describes how prices vary as a result of a balance between product availability and demand. The graph depicts an increase (that is, right-shift) in demand from D1 to D2 along with the consequent increase in price and quantity required to reach a new equilibrium point on the supply curve (S).

Recession

Business cycle contraction when there is a general decline in economic activity.

Business cycle contraction when there is a general decline in economic activity.

The supply and demand model describes how prices vary as a result of a balance between product availability and demand. The graph depicts an increase (that is, right-shift) in demand from D1 to D2 along with the consequent increase in price and quantity required to reach a new equilibrium point on the supply curve (S).

In his view, this avoided a U.S. type Great Depression, in which U.S. GDP fell by 46%.

The most recent recession to affect the United Kingdom was the 2020 recession attributed to the COVID‑19 global pandemic, the first recession since the Great Recession.

Unemployment rate, 2017

Unemployment

People above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for work during the reference period.

People above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for work during the reference period.

Unemployment rate, 2017
Unemployment in Mexico 2009
US unemployment rate, 1990—2022. The increase in unemployment during recessions (shaded) is called cyclical unemployment.
Short-Run Phillips Curve before and after Expansionary Policy, with Long-Run Phillips Curve (NAIRU). Note, however, that the unemployment rate is an inaccurate predictor of inflation in the long term.
Okun's Law interprets unemployment as a function of the rate of growth in GDP.
The Beveridge curve of 2004 job vacancy and unemployment rate (from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Karl Marx, Theorien über den Mehrwert, 1956
Unemployment in Europe (2020) according to Worldbank
Unemployment rates from 2000–2019 for United States and Japan and European Union
Unemployment rate in the US by county in 2008
U1–U6 since 1950, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
A government unemployment office with job listings, West Berlin, West Germany, 1982
Migrant Mother, photograph by Dorothea Lange, 1936
Demonstration against unemployment in Kerala, South India, India on 27 January 2004
Unemployment rate in Germany in 2003 by states
In the Shapiro–Stiglitz model of efficiency wages, workers are paid at a level that dissuades shirking. That prevents wages from dropping to market clearing levels.
Supply-side economics proposes that lower taxes lead to employment growth. Historical state data from the United States shows a heterogeneous result.
Tax decreases on high income earners (top 10%) are not correlated with employment growth, but tax decreases on lower-income earners (bottom 90%) are correlated with employment growth.
Unemployed men outside a soup kitchen in Depression-era Chicago, Illinois, United States, 1931
The Depression of 1873–79: New York City police violently attacking unemployed workers in Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan, New York City 1874
WPA poster promoting the benefits of employment
Unemployment rate of Japan. Red line is G7 average. 15-24 age (thin line) is Youth unemployment.

Its name is derived from the frequent ups and downs in the business cycle, but unemployment can also be persistent, such as during the Great Depression.

A historic shift began around the end of the Great Recession as women began leaving the labor force in the United States and other developed countries.

New York City, the financial center of the United States

Economy of the United States

Highly developed country with a market economy and has the world's largest nominal GDP and net wealth.

Highly developed country with a market economy and has the world's largest nominal GDP and net wealth.

New York City, the financial center of the United States
Washburn and Moen Manufacturing Company in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1876
Oil wells at Los Angeles, California, 1905
Consolidated B-24 Liberators at the Consolidated-Vultee Plant, Fort Worth, Texas, 1943
McDonald's restaurant in Mount Pleasant, Iowa
President Donald Trump with key automobile industry leaders, 2017
United States real quarterly GDP (annualized)
U.S. cumulative real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth by US president (from Reagan to Obama).
Number of Businesses by Type (US Census Bureau 2019)
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Job growth by US president, measured as cumulative percentage change from month after inauguration to end of term.
Panel chart illustrates nine key economic variables measured annually in 2014–2017. The years 2014–2016 were during President Obama's second term, while 2017 was during President Trump's term. Refer to citations on detail page.
US Census Bureau (Number of Employees per Business)
U1-U6 unemployment rate
U.S. real median household income (1984–2018)
U.S. share of income (pre-tax and after-tax) earned by top 1% households in 1979, 2007, and 2015 (CBO data). The first date (1979) reflects the more egalitarian pre-1980 period, 2007 was the peak inequality of the post-1980 period, and the 2015 number reflects the Obama tax increases on the top 1% along with residual effects of the Great Recession.
U.S. family pre-tax income and net worth distribution for 2013 and 2016, from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances.
Aerial view of San Diego suburb
Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1959 to 2016. United States.
Wealth inequality in the United States increased from 1989 to 2013.
U.S. health insurance coverage by source in 2016. CBO estimated ACA/Obamacare was responsible for 23 million persons covered via exchanges and Medicaid expansion.
Chart showing life expectancy at birth and health care spending per capita for OECD countries as of 2013. The U.S. is an outlier, with much higher spending but below average life expectancy.
Bar chart comparing healthcare costs as percentage of GDP across OECD countries
U.S. uninsured number (millions) and rate (%), including historical data through 2016 and two CBO forecasts (2016/Obama policy and 2018/Trump policy) through 2026. Two key reasons for more uninsured under President Trump include: 1) Eliminating the individual mandate to have health insurance; and 2) Stopping cost sharing reduction payments.
A wheat harvest in Idaho
Survival rate of U.S. start-ups, 1977–2012. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Business Dynamic Statistics, Published by Gallup, reproduced in UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, Figure 5.7, p. 143
The Interstate Highway System extends 46876 mi.
The Port of Houston, one of the largest ports in the United States.
Countries by natural gas proven reserves (2014). The U.S. holds the world's fourth largest natural gas reserves.
Protectionist measures since 2008 by country.
The Federal Reserve is the central banking system of the United States
Number of countries having a banking crisis in each year since 1800. This is based on This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly which covers only seventy countries. The general upward trend might be attributed to many factors. One of these is a gradual increase in the percent of people who receive money for their labor. The dramatic feature of this graph is the virtual absence of banking crises during the period of the Bretton Woods agreement, 1945 to 1971. This analysis is similar to Figure 10.1 in Reinhart and Rogoff (2009). For more details see the help file for "bankingCrises" in the Ecdat package available from the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).
CBO: U.S. Federal spending and revenue components for fiscal year 2020. Major expenditure categories are healthcare, Social Security, and defense; income and payroll taxes are the primary revenue sources.
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline scenario comparisons: June 2017 (essentially the deficit trajectory that President Trump inherited from President Obama), April 2018 (which reflects Trump's tax cuts and spending bills), and April 2018 alternate scenario (which assumes extension of the Trump tax cuts, among other current policy extensions).
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg at the 787-10 Dreamliner rollout ceremony
Restaurants and shops in Chinatown, Philadelphia
Percent of U.S. economy from State-owned Enterprises or GSEs
Tennessee in 1897. The U.S. was a leader in the adoption of electric lighting
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are two of the best-known American entrepreneurs.
Quarterly U.S. venture capital investments, 1995–2017
Gross domestic expenditure on R&D in the U.S. as a percentage of GDP, 2002–2013. Other countries are given for comparison. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030
World shares of GDP, research spending, researchers and scientific publications, 2009 and 2013. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, Figure 1.7
US research and development budget by government agency, 1994–2014. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, Figure 5.4, based on data from American Association for the Advancement of Science
Science and engineering in the U.S. by state. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, Figure 5.6, based on data from American Association for the Advancement of Science
High-tech exports from the U.S. as a percentage of the world share, 2008–2013. Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, Figure 5.10, based on Comtrade database
A typical Walmart discount department store (location: Laredo, Texas).
The New York Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in the world.
United States historical inflation rate, 1666–2019.
Contributions to Percent Change in Real GDP (1930–1946), source Bureau of Economic Analysis
Contributions to Percent Change in Real GDP (1947–1973), source Bureau of Economic Analysis
Contributions to Percent Change in Real GDP (1974–1990), source Bureau of Economic Analysis
Contributions to Percent Change in Real GDP (1991–2008), source Bureau of Economic Analysis
GDP per capita growth.
Real GDP per capita in the United States
Historical growth of the U.S. economy from 1961–2015
GDP per person in the United States
US Gross Private Domestic Investment and Corporate Profits After Tax as shares of Gross Domestic Product
US share of world GDP (%) since 1980.
U.S. in global economy
The Percentage of the U.S. working age population employed, 1995–2012.
Official U.S. unemployment rate, 1950–2005
United States mean duration of unemployment 1948–2010.
Average annual hours worked
All employees, private industries, by branches
U.S. manufacturing employment
U.S. manufacturing industry's share of nominal GDP
U.S. Change in real income versus selected goods and services v1
Mean Quintile Household Income (1967-2015)<ref>{{cite web |url=https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44705.pdf |title=The U.S. Income Distribution: Trends and Issues |website= |archive-url= |archive-date= |access-date=5 March 2022}}</ref>
U.S. real median household income, 1967-2014<ref name="hbs.edu">{{cite web |url=http://www.hbs.edu/competitiveness/Documents/problems-unsolved-and-a-nation-divided.pdf |title=Problems Unsolved and A Nation Divided |website= |archive-url= |archive-date= |access-date=5 March 2022}}</ref>
Real family income indexed to 1973, across the distribution 1947-2014<ref name="hbs.edu" />
Real compensation per hour in the U.S. (1947–2021).
Historical graph of real wages in the U.S. from 1964 to 2005.
Median Real Wages by Educational Attainment.png<ref>{{cite web |url=https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45090.pdf |title=Real Wage Trends, 1979 to 2019 |website= |archive-url= |archive-date= |access-date=5 March 2022}}</ref>
Productivity and real median family income growth, 1947–2009.
Top 1% fiscal income share
Gini Coefficient for Household Income (1967–2007), source United States Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Income Shares of Top 1% and 0.1% 1913–2013
Income inequality panel{{snd}}v1
Life expectancy vs healthcare spending of rich OECD countries.<ref name=life>Link between health spending and life expectancy: US is an outlier. May 26, 2017. By Max Roser at Our World in Data. Click the sources tab under the chart for info on the countries, healthcare expenditures, and data sources. See the later version of the chart here.</ref><ref name=Kenworthy2011>{{cite web|last= Kenworthy|first= Lane|date= July 10, 2011|title= America's inefficient health-care system: another look|publisher= Consider the Evidence (blog)|url= http://lanekenworthy.net/2011/07/10/americas-inefficient-health-care-system-another-look/ |access-date=September 11, 2012}}</ref>
Health spending as a share of GDP
International Comparison{{nbs}}Healthcare spending as % GDP
Average tariff rates in USA (1821–2016)
Average tariff rates (France, UK, US)
Average tariff rates for selected countries (1913–2007)
Average tariff rates on manufactured products
U.S. trade balance and trade policy (1895–2015)
Imports vs exports & net imports
US trade balance (from 1960)
Merchandise exports (1870–1992)
U.S. federal effective tax rates by income percentile and component as projected for 2014 by the Tax Policy Center.<ref>{{cite web|title=Effective tax rates: income, payroll, corporate and estate taxes combined|url=http://pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0102_tax-rates|publisher=Peter G. Peterson Foundation|access-date=November 3, 2013|date=July 1, 2013}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|title=T13-0174 – Average Effective Federal Tax Rates by Filing Status; by Expanded Cash Income Percentile, 2014|url=http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?DocID=3933|publisher=Tax Policy Center|access-date=November 3, 2013|date=July 25, 2013|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20141211105316/http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?DocID=3933|archive-date=December 11, 2014|url-status=dead|df=mdy-all}}</ref>
CBO estimates of historical effective federal tax rates broken down by income level.<ref name = "CBO 2010">{{cite web|url=http://cbo.gov/publication/44604|title=The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2010|publisher=The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO)|date=December 4, 2013|access-date=August 13, 2014}}</ref>
Federal, state, and local government spending as a % of GDP history
Revenue and expense as % GDP
A pie chart showing global military expenditures by country for 2019, in US${{nbs}}billions, according to SIPRI.
Debt in the United States
Assets of the United States as a fraction of GDP 1960–2008
Liabilities of the United States as a fraction of GDP 1960–2009
Development of U.S. federal government debt ceiling from 1990 to January 2012.<ref>{{cite web|url=https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/omb/budget/historicals|title=Table 7.3 – Statutory Limits on Federal Debt: 1940–Current|publisher= Office of Management and Budget|access-date=December 25, 2013}}</ref>
Deficit and debt increases 2001–2016.
U.S. public net debt and the total public debt
"Twin deficit" (1960–2006)

The U.S. economy experienced a serious economic downturn during the Great Recession, defined as lasting from December 2007 to June 2009.

For many years following the Great Depression of the 1930s, when danger of recession appeared most serious, the government strengthened the economy by spending heavily itself or cutting taxes so that consumers would spend more, and by fostering rapid growth in the money supply, which also encouraged more spending.

Keynes in 1933

John Maynard Keynes

English economist whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments.

English economist whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments.

Keynes in 1933
King's College, Cambridge. Keynes's grandmother wrote to him saying that, since he was born in Cambridge, people will expect him to be clever.
Keynes's colleague, David Lloyd George. Keynes was initially wary of the "Welsh Wizard," preferring his rival Asquith, but was impressed with Lloyd George at Versailles; this did not prevent Keynes from painting a scathing picture of the then-prime minister in The Economic Consequences of the Peace.
The Great Depression and its periods of worldwide economic hardship formed the backdrop against which the Keynesian Revolution took place. This image is Migrant Mother, taken by photographer Dorothea Lange in March 1936.
Caricature by David Low, 1934
Keynes (right) and the US representative Harry Dexter White at the inaugural meeting of the International Monetary Fund's Board of Governors in Savannah, Georgia in 1946
Prime Minister Clement Attlee with King George VI after Attlee won the 1945 election
Neo-Keynesian IS–LM model is used to analyse the effect of demand shocks on the economy
The economist Manmohan Singh, the then prime minister of India, spoke strongly in favour of Keynesian fiscal stimulus at the 2008 G-20 Washington summit.
Friedrich Hayek, one of Keynes's most prominent critics
Painter Duncan Grant (left) with Keynes in 1912
Lydia Lopokova and Keynes in the 1920s
46 Gordon Square, where Keynes often stayed while in London. Following his marriage, Keynes took out an extended lease on Tilton House, a farm in the countryside near Brighton, which became the couple's main home when not in the capital.
Blue plaque, 46 Gordon Square
Tilton House, 2021

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking, challenging the ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands.

Although many economists, such as George Akerlof, Paul Krugman, Robert Shiller, and Joseph Stiglitz, supported Keynesian stimulus, others did not believe higher government spending would help the United States economy recover from the Great Recession.

Debt deflation

Theory that recessions and depressions are due to the overall level of debt rising in real value because of deflation, causing people to default on their consumer loans and mortgages.

Theory that recessions and depressions are due to the overall level of debt rising in real value because of deflation, causing people to default on their consumer loans and mortgages.

The theory was developed by Irving Fisher following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression.

There was a renewal of interest in debt deflation in academia in the 1980s and 1990s, and a further renewal of interest in debt deflation due to the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and the ensuing Great Recession.