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A History of UK Recessions

Geoff Riley

30th October 2017

Each recession differs in length, depth and the time it takes for output to recover its pre-recession peak

This table is taken from the Fiscal Risk report published by the Office of Budgetary Responsibility in July 2017. They have undertaken a detailed research of the causes and effects of recessions in the UK over recent decades. 

Source: OBR, July 2017

The recession that started in the second quarter of 2008 following the sub-prime crisis caused real GDP to contract by more than 6 per cent from peak to trough. Not only was this the deepest UK recession in the post-war period, but it also took 22 quarters (nearly six years) for output to recover to the pre-recession level. 

Among the questions you might want to consider are:

  1. What were the main causes of the recession that started in early 2008?
  2. What made the most recent recession the deepest for over sixt years?
  3. Why did it take so long for output to recover?

We have a collection of resources on recessions - available here

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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