How Long Do Recessions Last?

Now that US economy is officially in recession, the big question on everyone’s mind is, how long will it last?

So far, the current recession is the fourth longest in the past 80 years and its on track to be as long as recession in the 1970s and 80s, which lasted for 16 months. However we are still a long ways from the Great Depression, when the recession lasted for 43 months or more than 3.5 years.

In his speech on Monday, Bernanke said that it is not useful to compare the current recession with the Great Depression because that was much worse.

Here’s a fantastic graphic from the Wall Street Journal that indicates how long recessions have lasted:


Photo: WSJ

About Kathy Lien 236 Articles

Kathy Lien is an Internationally Published Author and Chief Strategist of, one of the world’s most popular online websites for currency research. Her trading books include the highly acclaimed, Day Trading the Currency Market: Technical and Fundamental Strategies to Profit form Market Swings (2005, Wiley); High Probability Trading Setups for the Currency Market E-Book (2006, Investopedia); and Millionaire Traders: How Everyday People Are Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game (2007, Wiley). As Chief Currency Strategist at FXCM, Kathy is responsible for providing research and analysis for DailyFX, the research arm of FXCM. She also co-edits the BK Forex Advisor, an Premium Service with Boris Schlossberg – one of the few investment advisory letters focusing strictly on the 2 Trillion/day FX market.

Kathy is also one of the authors of Investopedia’s Forex Education section and has written for, the Asia Times Online, Stocks & Commodities Magazine, MarketWatch, ActiveTrader Magazine, Currency Trader, Futures Magazine and SFO. She is frequently quoted by Bloomberg, Reuters, the Wall street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, CBS and Bloomberg Radio. She has also hosted trader chats on EliteTrader, eSignal and FXStreet, sharing her expertise in both technical and fundamental analysis.

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