Tracking Real GDP over Time

Self-Check Questions

Without looking at Table, return to Figure. If we define a recession as a significant decline in national output, can you identify any post-1960 recessions in addition to the 2008-2009 recession? (This requires a judgment call.)

Hint:

Two other major recessions are visible in the figure as slight dips: those of 1973–1975, and 1981–1982. Two other recessions appear in the figure as a flattening of the path of real GDP. These were in 1990–1991 and 2001.

According to Table, how often have recessions occurred since the end of World War II (1945)?

Hint:

11 recessions in approximately 70 years averages about one recession every six years.

According to Table, how long has the average recession lasted since the end of World War II?

Hint:

The table lists the “Months of Contraction” for each recession. Averaging these figures for the post-WWII recessions gives an average duration of 11 months, or slightly less than a year.

According to Table, how long has the average expansion lasted since the end of World War II?

Hint:

The table lists the “Months of Expansion.” Averaging these figures for the post-WWII expansions gives an average expansion of 60.5 months, or more than five years.