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With the United States and European economies having slowed markedly according to the latest data, and with global growth continuing to disappoint, a reasonable question increasingly arises: Are we in another Great Depression?
The easy answer is "no" - the main features of the Great Depression have not yet manifested themselves and still seem unlikely.
First, output dropped sharply after 1929, by over 25 percent in real terms in the United States (using the Bureau of Economic Analysis data, from its Web site, for real gross domestic product, using chained 1937 dollars).
Second, unemployment rose above 20 percent in the United States during the 1930s and stayed there.
Third, in the 1930s the credit system shrank sharply. In large part this is because banks failed in an uncontrolled manner - largely in panics that led retail depositors to take out their funds.