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Now that more investors are beginning to talk recession, below we have graphically summarized US economic expansions and recessions since 1900 (red=recession, green=expansion).

One of the most interesting aspects of the above chart is that over the last one hundred years, recessions have become shorter in nature. For example, three of the first four recessions during the 20th Century lasted longer than 600 days. During the last four recessions, however, only one has been longer than 250 days (the longest was 487).

During expansions, we have seen the opposite occur. Over the last 100+ years, expansions have become longer in duration. Prior to WWII, there were ten economic expansions. Of those, only four (40%) lasted longer than 1,000 days. Since WWII, however, there have been eleven expansions, of which nine (81%) crossed the 1,000 day threshold.

Source: U.S. Expansions and Recessions: An Historic Look, 1900-2007