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The official dating of recessions is done by

Not only does it have the longest downturn (43 months), but it also is one of the few depressions accompanied by both bank panics and numerous bank failures.

Furthermore, note that more outbreaks of numerous bank failures occurred in the hundred years after the Federal Reserve was created than the hundred years before, with the Federal Reserve presiding over the most serious case of all: the Great Depression.

Because my table departs from previous lists and dating, in what follows, I explain the most important differences for each of the three categories. Gallaway (1993) pointed out in their neglected study of U. unemployment that this alleged postwar recession is a statistical artifact that varies in severity with the regular comprehensive revisions of GNP/GDP estimates by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

First, I have omitted the very minor economic contraction of 1833, following Andrew Jackson’s phased withdrawal of government deposits from the Second Bank of the United States, since the impact on banks was almost entirely confined to the Second Bank and its branches.

Second, I have included the more pronounced global financial crisis at the outbreak of World War I, in which the U. stock market was shut down for four months, although the emergency currency authorized under the Aldrich-Vreeland Act prevented bank suspensions.

The designation of a recession is the province of a committee of experts at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a private non-profit research organization that focuses on understanding the U. Therefore, while negative GDP growth and recessions closely track each other, the consideration by the NBER of the monthly indicators, especially employment, means that the identification of a recession with two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth does not always hold.

the official dating of recessions is done by-27

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Thus, 1839-1843 appears to be another case were deflation (in this case, quite severe) is confused with depression. But Elmus Wicker (2000) has persuasively demonstrated that the alleged Panics of 18 were really only incipient financial crises nipped in the bud by the actions of bank clearinghouses.

The number of bank panics is also often exaggerated. For the pre-Civil War period, especially egregious in its listing of panics is the widely cited work of Willard Long Thorp (1926), which even mistakenly attributes to the United Sates panics that affected only England (those in 18).

For instance, Calomiris and Gorton report the failure of only six banks out of a total of 6412 during the Panic of 1907, or less than 0.1 percent.

Of course the Panic of 1907 was concentrated among state banks and trust companies.

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