Special Report

How the Current Stock Market Collapse Compares With Others in History

Samuel Stebbins, Michael B. Sauter

In mid-February 2020, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached nearly 30,000 points, the highest level in its more than 100 year history. And then, the severity and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic came into sharper focus.

Within a week of hitting an all-time high, the DJIA began to tank. So far, the index has lost over 35% of its value, wiping out years of growth in only about a month’s time. 

So far, over a quarter million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, resulting in over 10,000 deaths. In the United States, there were 15,219 total cases and 201 deaths as of March 20 — with health experts projecting a sharp rise in cases in the coming days and weeks.  To halt the virus’s spread, non-essential businesses and services have been shut down across the country, and government officials have been urging Americans to stay home, effectively halting economic activity. Here is a look at the U.S. industries being devastated by the coronavirus

The current sell-off on Wall Street is the worst many Americans have seen — or will see — in their lifetimes. Still, it is hardly the first time investors have scrambled to pull their money out of the stock market. For context on how the current market collapse compares with others throughout history, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the largest declines in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Some of the sell-offs that rank on this list spanned just a few days. In other cases, they lasted for weeks and even months. 

It is important to note that market conditions are not static, and the prevailing opinion of government officials and health experts is that the effects of the coronavirus will worsen before they improve. Though lawmakers are scrambling to put together a comprehensive economic stimulus package, markets remain volatile, and the full economic impact of the pandemic remains to be seen.

Click here to see how the current stock market collapse compares with others in history.