The business cycle
It probably goes without staying that a macroeconomy or national economy experiences periods of expansion (usually marked by increases in real GDP, employment, and production) and periods of decline (usually marked by decreases in real GDP, employment, and production). A prolonged period of decline across a national economy is called a recession. While some people define a recession as two consecutive quarters of declining real GDP, this is not the official definition which economists use:
Two of the most intense recessions in the past several generations in the United States were the Great Depression of 1929-1933 and the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Which recession or depression was the most destructive to the U.S. economy? Why?