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Friday, April 12, 2019

The Longest Expansions in U.S. History

by Calculated Risk on 4/12/2019 02:29:00 PM

According to NBER, the four longest expansions in U.S. history are:

1) From a trough in March 1991 to a peak in March 2001 (120 months).

2) From a trough in June 2009 to today, April 2019 (118 months and counting).

3) From a trough in February 1961 to a peak in December 1969 (106 months).

4) From a trough in November 1982 to a peak in July 1990 (92 months).

So the current U.S. expansion is currently the second longest on record, and it seems extremely likely that the current expansion will surpass the '90s expansion in a few months.

As I noted in late 2017 in Is a Recession Imminent? (one of the five questions I'm frequently asked)

Expansions don't die of old age! There is a very good chance this will become the longest expansion in history.
A key reason the current expansion has been so long is that housing didn't contribute for the first few years of the expansion.  Also the housing recovery was sluggish for a few more years after the bottom in 2011.  This was because of the huge overhang of foreclosed properties coming on the market. Single family housing starts and new home sales both bottomed in 2011 - so this is just the eight year of housing expansion - and I expect further increases in starts and sales over the next year or longer.