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Gauging U.S. Recession Risk

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2 or just over three years. More recently, in the post WWII era, recessions have shortened to an average 11.1 months and expansions have lengthened to an average of 58.4 months. And, since 1982, the three recessions have averaged 11.3 months, including the Great Recession, and the four expansions, inclusive of the current one, have averaged more than 96 months and counting. Chart 1 shows the recessions and expansions recorded by the NBER. The era of the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) started in December 1913. The dual mandate of the Fed is to maximize employment and to stabilize prices (moderate inflation). The first mandate has resulted in much longer expansions prior to recessions and, with the exception of the Great Depression from 1929-1933, much shorter contractions. CHART 1 Length of U.S. Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions Since 1854 Source: Equifax, National Bureau of Economic Research, Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The Federal Reserve System was created in December 1913. Data reported as of July 2017.

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