Where the current economic boom ranks in American history

The U.S. economy is in very good shape right now. The question is how long that will last.President Trump is c...

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 6:48 PM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 6:48 PM

The U.S. economy is in very good shape right now. The question is how long that will last.

President Trump is certain to talk a lot about the strong state of the economy at his first State of the Union speech tonight. And why not? Unemployment is at a 17-year low. Consumer and business confidence are both near record highs. The stock market is regularly setting records.

The current economic expansion began in June 2009 -- or 8 years and 7 months ago. If this one makes it to 10 years old next summer, it'll be the longest in U.S. history.

Related: Why America's economy is so healthy

Of course, boom times don't last forever. Economists are busy speculating about when this one will end.

Recessions don't start when the economy is weak, but rather when good news and growth have reached a peak. That's when the economy can become susceptible to shocks, such as a geopolitical crisis or a market bubble, that tip it into recession. Or the economy can overheat, which can prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, which itself can bring an expansion to an end.

Related: The economy is doing great. Here's what could derail it

"It's going to feel really good this year, but that's when recessions take root," said Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Analytics. He's worried that a recession could start in a year or two. "When people are becoming very optimistic, that's when they take more risks and make mistakes and problems can occur."

It's not that expansions can't go on and on. Australia's last recession ended 26 years ago in 1991. Still, the average post-World War II expansion in the U.S. is only about five years. The following are the longest periods of growth in U.S. history:

1991 to 2001 - 10 years

The rapid adoption of computers and growth of the internet in the 1990s led to huge increases in productivity and strong economic growth. But that growth led the stock market to record highs, causing a bubble to develop among tech stocks. Unemployment was also very low, making it difficult for employers to find the workers they needed to grow. All of this laid the groundwork for the end of that expansion. Unemployment bottomed out at about the same time that the stock market bubble burst. A year later the recession started.

1961 to 1969: 8 years, 10 months

At the time, tax cuts, government spending on Great Society programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as on the Vietnam war all pumped money into the economy. So did greater access to credit, as consumer borrowing soared. The growth lasted until the Fed's inflation fighting efforts at the end of the decade brought about a recession.

2009 to present: 8 years, 7 months and counting

This expansion started with the stimulus spending and tax cuts that passed in early 2009 to battle the Great Recession. The bailout of the auto industry that summer also helped get the economy growing again. But growth has generally been slow, but steady, ever since.

1982 to 1990: 7 years, 8 months

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Federal Reserve battled very high inflation with the highest interest rates in its history. When it finally won that battle and started lowering rates, the economy kicked into gear. Tax cuts passed by the Reagan administration also fed growth. But Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 led to a spike in oil prices, and that helped bring on a recession.

1938 to 1945: 6 years, 8 months

Public works projects helped pump money into the economy and bring an end to the Great Depression. So did assistance programs, such as the start of Social Security. But what really got the economy moving was an increase in defense spending at the start of World War II. That growth paused when the war ended and factories had to shut down and retool from military to civilian use, which triggered a brief recession.

2001 to 2007: 6 years, 1 month

In response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Fed slashed interest rates as a way of supporting nervous markets. And rates stayed low for several years, which helped to spur home buying, lifting housing prices. The housing bubble eventually burst in 2006, leading to the Great Recession, which started at the end of 2007.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
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Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
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Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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