Economic depression

An economic depression is a period of sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a recession, which is a slowdown in economic activity over the course of a normal business cycle.

Economic depressions are characterized by their length, by abnormally large increases in unemployment, falls in the availability of credit (often due to some form of banking or financial crisis), shrinking output as buyers dry up and suppliers cut back on production and investment, more bankruptcies including sovereign debt defaults, significantly reduced amounts of trade and commerce (especially international trade), as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations (often due to currency devaluations). Price deflation, financial crises, stock market crash, and bank failures are also common elements of a depression that do not normally occur during a recession.


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