The shaded areas represent recession dates from the National Bureau of Economic Research (“NBER”), a private entity. Since 1933 the economy has been in recession about 16% of the time. Prior to 1933 recessions were about three times more prevalent occurring about 49% of the time.
The annual growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) is calculated from quarterly data since 1948 and from annual data prior to that. Data prior to 1929 are not official estimates of the US Department of Commerce.