How Long Will the Crisis Last? – Chart of the Day

Earth in Storm
  • No one can know how long the crisis will last. Impossible.
  • In recent decades, there has been an average of 11 months of recession and 58 months of growth.
  • The normal state of the economy is growing.
  • Crises always end.
  • The average length of crises has declined in modern times.


How Long Will The Coronavirus Pandemics Last?

How Long Will the Crisis Last? Many successful scientists also admit that they have no idea. Nor how long the coronavirus epidemic will last, either the duration of the economic crisis. They can’t even know it, impossible. Because it depends on factors we have no information about. We do not know what the speed and behavior of the virus will be. Will it mutate? Will there be a second, third wave? The time required to produce an effective vaccine or drug is also unknown. Nor do we know exactly what measures governments will take in the future. People’s behavior and discipline are also important factors.

But, it may be instructive how long crises have lasted in history. Wikipedia wrote:


There have been as many as 47 recessions in the United States (…) the consensus view among economists and historians is that “the cyclical volatility of GNP and unemployment was greater before the Great Depression than it has been since the end of World War II.” (…) The average duration of the 11 recessions between 1945 and 2001 is 10 months, compared to 18 months for recessions between 1919 and 1945, and 22 months for recessions from 1854 to 1919. ”



How Long Crises Lasted in History?

This quote means that recessions are very common. But, fortunately, periods of recession are getting shorter. These 47 cases mentioned occurred in about 243 years. So, roughly every five years on average, a new one started. Some lasted only half a year, some years. There are periods that economists are debating until today. For example, according to some scientists 1929-1933, by other researchers, 1929-1941 was the real period of the “Great Depression”. The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 was also longer in some countries than these two years.

US recessions (gray columns) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
US recessions (gray columns) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (

The chart shows the recessions observed in the US (the gray columns), and the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index. The length of recession periods in total is much shorter than the length of periods of economic growth. But, there were more contractions in the first half of the 20th century than in recent decades. It seems that economic policymakers are also learning. Crisis management may be more effective now than before.

How Long Can Modern Crises Last?

Today, a recession is when GDP declines for two consecutive quarters. Because of this, there could be two recessions in a year. For example, one in the first and second quarters. The second one, in the fourth quarter and early next year. There are small recessions that most people don’t even feel. An article on Investopedia also describes how the length of recessions is declining:

Business cycles of the U.S. economy averaged 38.7 months in expansion and 17.5 months in contraction between 1854 and 2009 (…) From 1945 to 2009 (…) the average expansion was approximately 58 months, and the average contraction was approximately 11 months (…) the average expansion time period has continued to average longer over time.

Learning and earning



Helicopter Money Flying into Pockets

This may be good news. Huge sums are now being spent on bailout programs, to save the economy in many countries. Both central banks and governments pour money into the pockets of companies, employees. This process can continue for years. If the epidemic doesn’t last very long, there’s a chance for a relatively quick recovery. If not in months, but in 1-2 years we may reach pre-crisis levels. (Stock exchanges may price in a faster recovery now, see the post list at the end.)

All these statistics are also sending a message for most of us. I mean, every family should keep enough financial reserves for the survival of at least 1-2, or even more years. Saving is not a luxury, but a must, a necessity. A lot also depends on the country where we live. There are caring countries where no one has to fear starvation. And there are those where you can starve to death or bleed smoothly on the side of the road. No one will stop to help.

The question arises, how much the U.S. data applies to other countries. Wikipedia’s list of British recession periods is like the American one. In a globalized world, economies are interconnected and even chained together. In other countries, however, the picture may be different.

Take care of yourself and your family and always be prepared for the worst.

See our other articles on the crisis, inflation, negative real interest rate, stock market in the following list:


I’m not a certified financial advisor nor a certified financial analyst, accountant nor lawyer. The contents on my site and in my posts are for informational and entertainment purposes and reflecting my collection of data, ideas, opinions. Please, make your proper research or consult your advisors before making any investment or financial or legal decisions.


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