Home > Terms > English (EN) > Recession


The decline of the economy of a country (or other region) over a period of time, resulting in increased unemployment, reduced productivity, reduced GDP (Gross Domestic Product), falling household income and livings standards, etc. Different nations and financial institutions, bodies, etc., have different definitions of a recession. Many economists and business commentators use the term very loosely without regard to a particular definition, other than it being a period of economic contraction with related factors. A common official definition at national/governmental level is broadly that a recession is: "Two consecutive quarters (i.e., total 6mths) of 'negative growth' (or contraction or reduction) in GDP (Gross Domestic Product)". Aside from the euphemistically unhelpful term 'negative growth' (used by UK governments notably) this definition of recession is open to debate because it is calculated over such a short period and is therefore very finely balanced. This definition tends to increase instances of 'double-dip' or 'triple-dip' recessions (i.e., two or three recessions in very close succession, according to this particular definition of 'recession') when in fact many such 'ups and downs' may be due to seasonal effects and adjustments rather than being actually different recessions. By more general (and some would say sensible and realistic) definitions of a recession, a 'double-dip' or 'triple dip' recession may instead be plainly and simply one long recession, and is historically seen as such. See recession shapes below.

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