The AP explains the difference between a recession and a depression:

By one definition, it's a downturn of three years or more with a 10 percent drop in economic output and unemployment above 10 percent. The current downturn doesn't qualify yet: 15 months old and 7.6 percent unemployment.

Something I didn't know:

Before the 1930s, any serious economic downturn was called a depression. The term "recession" didn't come into common use until "depression" became burdened by memories of the 1930s, said Robert McElvaine, a history professor at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss.

"When the economy collapsed again in 1937, they didn't want to call that a new depression, and that's when recession was first used," he said. "People also use 'downward blip.' Alan Greenspan once called it a 'sideways waffle.'"

The word depression feels right to me: there is no end in sight and we are all deeply depressed, a mood that, in my case, only lightens when I turn it into anger at the Wall Street fools who led us into this mess and the politicians who gave us no cushion to withstand it.

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