> Unemployment: 9.3%
> GDP Expansion: -2.6%
> GDP Per Capita (Inflation Adjusted): $41,890
> CPI: -0.4%
The recession that began with the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008 and continues to affect the American economy today was at its worst during 2009. The year was marked by a rash of bankruptcies, most notably the Chapter 11 filing of Chrysler and General Motors, long considered one of the great American blue chip companies. The national average unemployment rate reached 9.3% — the worst joblessness the country has seen in more than a quarter century.
> Unemployment: 6.8%
> GDP Expansion: -0.9%
> GDP Per Capita (Inflation Adjusted): $14,802
> CPI: 2.8%
The recession of 1958 is one of the few difficult economic climates during the post-World War II boom, and the first major one since the Great Depression. In the previous year, car sales had declined 31%, wreaking havoc on the American auto industry. In Detroit, unemployment rate reached 20%, and Packard, venerable automaker, ceases operation. Unlike most previous recessions in U.S. history, in 1958 consumer prices increased, severely hindering the purchasing power of Americans during the holiday season.
> Unemployment: 7.6%
> GDP Expansion: 2.5%
> GDP Per Capita (Inflation Adjusted): $26,030
> CPI: 10.3%
1981 marked the beginning of the early 1980s recession, during which the Federal Reserve raised key interest rates in the hopes of slowing rampant inflation. Inflation continued to rise, however, and the economy entered a period of stagflation — when economic growth is slow or declining and inflation is high. In one of the defining moments in the history of labor, 12,000 Air Traffic Controllers went on strike over a pay dispute. After refusing to return to work, President Reagan fired them all. An assassination attempt was made on Reagan’s life, as well as on Pope John Paul II. Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, retired after 44 years of journalism.
> Unemployment: 5.6%
> GDP Expansion: -0.6%
> GDP Per Capita (Inflation Adjusted): $22,861
> CPI: 11%
In 1974, the U.S. continued to face record oil prices as a result of an embargo by OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) that started the previous year. The energy crisis was only one component hurting American consumers. Mounting costs from the Vietnam war, as well as a stock market crash after the collapse of the Bretton Woods monetary relation system, led to the first GDP contraction in 16 years. Following the Watergate scandal, President Nixon resigned and Congress dropped impeachment proceedings against him.
> Unemployment: 3.9%
> GDP Expansion: -10.9%
> GDP Per Capita (Inflation Adjusted): $12,676
> CPI: 8.3%
With the conclusion of the war and the return of millions of soldiers, a shortage of housing and consumer goods led to a dramatic increase in prices and business costs. The U.S. began testing nuclear weapons in the Bikini Atoll, signaling the commencement of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. “It’s A Wonderful Life” — a film about appreciating life in the face of financial hardship — opened five days before Christmas. A classic today, the film was considered then a box office flop.