Home > Terms > English (EN) > Recession Shape

Recession Shape

A common way to describe a recession, in terms of how the recession appears in a graph of GDP movement over time. 'Shapes' are mostly letter-shapes (V, W, U, etc). Here are the most common recession shapes:

V-shaped recession - The simplest shape and basic form of recession, namely a broadly straight-lined angled decline to a trough or lowest point, followed by a relatively quick 'bounce' upwards again in a straight-lined angled rise back to the pre-recession level.

U-shaped recession - Like the V-shaped recession but with a longer period at the lowest point. Alternatively called a 'Bathtub Curve'.

W-shaped recession - Also called a double-dip recession, essentially characterized by a recession whose recovery is interrupted by a further decline into recession, before final recovery.

L-shaped recession - A recession which fails to recover for a very long period, typically ten years or longer, or indefinitely, i.e., pre-recession levels of GDP and GDP growth are not seen again for many decades. Also, where extremely severe an L-shaped recession might more traditionally be called a depression. The Japanese recession of the 1990s is gererally regarded as an example of an L-shaped recession. The recessions in the US and large parts of Europe following the 2007/8 global financial crisis might easily be interpreted as similarly long-term and ominously L-shaped recessions.

WW-shaped recession - A recession which lurches from recovery back into recession several times, which given the implication of the need for such a term, contains more ups and downs than a triple-dip recession. As with many of the terms referring to types of recessions, the need for the terminology is produced more by finely balanced definitions of a recession, rather than the ups and downs of economic performance, which are generally happening anyway whether in growth or recession. It's all a matter of degree; i.e., where recessions are defined by very tiny degrees of contraction (as happens in modern times), then 'multiple dip' and convoluted letter-shaped terminology tend to be used more frequently.

J-shaped recession - This shape unusually and optimistically refers to a recession which recovers into a boom or period of high growth, i.e., the level of GDP immediately beyond recovery continues to increase strongly and substantially above pre-recesssion levels for a period exceeding the duration of the recession. This sort of recessionary recovery might be fuelled by technology innovation, or discovery and exploitation of new natural resources, etc.

Inverted Square Root Sign-shaped recession - Otherwise technically the 'inverted radical symbol-shaped' recession, this term, apparently coined by financier George Soros, is very rarely used, and is included here mainly for curiosity. It refers to an L-shaped recession containing a small bounce (partial initial recovery) before a prolonged or indefinite period of depressed/recessionary-level economic conditions. Confusingly an inverted radical sign, with or without the long horizontal overline, seems not to fit the effect Soros described. A reverse tick or check sign is more apt.

Collect to Blossary

Member comments

You have to log in to post to discussions.

Terms in the News

Billy Morgan

Sports; Snowboarding

British snowboarder Billy Morgan has landed the sport’s first ever 1800 quadruple cork. The rider, who represented Great Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, was in Livigno, Italy, when he achieved the manoeuvre. It involves flipping four times, while the body also spins five complete rotations on a sideways or downward-facing axis. The trick had ...

Marzieh Afkham

Broadcasting & receiving; News

Marzieh Afkham, who is the country’s first foreign ministry spokeswoman, will head a mission in east Asia, the state news agency reported. It is not clear to which country she will be posted as her appointment has yet to be announced officially. Afkham will only be the second female ambassador Iran has had. Under the last shah’s rule, Mehrangiz Dolatshahi, a ...

Weekly Packet

Language; Online services; Slang; Internet

Weekly Packet or "Paquete Semanal" as it is known in Cuba is a term used by Cubans to describe the information that is gathered from the internet outside of Cuba and saved onto hard drives to be transported into Cuba itself. Weekly Packets are then sold to Cuban's without internet access, allowing them to obtain information just days - and sometimes hours - after it ...

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Banking; Investment banking

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is an international financial institution established to address the need in Asia for infrastructure development. According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia needs $800 billion each year for roads, ports, power plants or other infrastructure projects before 2020. Originally proposed by China in 2013, a signing ...


Online services; Internet

Spartan is the codename given to the new Microsoft Windows 10 browser that will replace Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer. The new browser will be built from the ground up and disregard any code from the IE platform. It has a new rendering engine that is built to be compatible with how the web is written today. The name Spartan is named after the ...

Featured Terms

  • 71


  • 3


  • 1


Industry/Domain: Geography Category: Geography

Pithecanthropus Erectus

Java Man (Homo erectus erectus) is the name given to fossils discovered in 1891 at Trinil - Ngawi Regency on the banks of the Solo River in East Java, ...


Contributors in Business administration

Featured blossaries

Category:    1 0 Terms

Star Wars

Category: Arts   2 4 Terms