The information here is based on items in the AmosWEB Economic GLOSS*arama.
is a sustained increase in the general level of prices. It is usually measured
by an index, and the most common index in the
Deflation, the opposite of inflation, is a sustained decline in the general level of prices. Deflation is rare in this country, but may occur in a recession, especially when severe. Note that deflation is not the same thing as disinflation.
is a general period of declining economic activity. Inflation is usually low
or absent in a recession. A depression
is a severe recession -- typically lasting a decade or so -- such as that suffered
To describe an economic downturn, the term for centuries was depression; the word recession in this sense is a recent euphemism. The first recorded use found by the Oxford English Dictionary was in November 1929, in the journal Economist:
“The material prosperity of the United States is too firmly based, in our opinion, for a revival in industrial activity -- even if we have to face an immediate recession of some magnitude -- to be long delayed.”
To return to the module, close this window.