The National Recession: Its Impacts on Utah and the Mountain West


In March 2001, the U.S. economy slipped into recession. Although the economy continues to struggle, it is not certain whether the recession continues today or whether it ended some months ago. To put this economic recession in context with history, last year, Utah Foundation examined each recession since 1948. That report found that the average recession lasted 11.6 months; however, because the end of a recession is technically when the economy “hits bottom,” there is an average period of recovery of 10 additional months before the economy is back to its pre-recession level of employment. Considering these averages and the historical data in Figure 1, this recession is already more severe than six of the nine previous post-war recessions. Six of those recessions allowed for full recovery of employment within 23 months; at present, it has been 23 months since the start of the 2001 recession, and employment remains nearly 1.5% below its pre-recession level, and it is not clear whether the bottom of this trend has yet been reached.

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