Question of the Day: February of 2020 marked the end of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. How many months did this expansion last?

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Jun 09, 2020
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Question of the Day, Economics, Behavioral Finance

Answer: 128 months

Questions:

  • What happened in February that led the economy to shift from expansion to a recession, which is a period of economic decline? 
  • How do you think that consumer mindset changes during a recession in terms of their buying behavior? 
  • Do you think that people tend to save more during a recession or during an economic expansion? 
  • The expansion lasted 128 months, how long do you think the current recession might last? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (NPR):

It may seem obvious, with double-digit unemployment and plunging economic output. But if there was any remaining doubt that the U.S. is in a recession, it's now been removed by the official scorekeepers at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee — the fat lady of economic opera — said the expansion peaked in February after a record 128 months, and we've been sliding into a pandemic-driven recession since.

In making the announcement, the committee pointed to the "unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy."

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About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.