There is no official definition for a depression, but an old economists' joke says a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, while a depression is when you lose yours.

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There is no official definition for a depression, but an old economists’ joke says a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, while a depression is when you lose yours.

Geoffrey Moore, the late economist whose pupils included former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, wrote in the 1983 edition of “Business Cycles, Inflation and Forecasting” that the United States has endured three depressions.

The Great Depression stands alone, running for 43 months from August 1929 to March 1933. The other two, in 1920-21 and 1937-38, lasted 18 months and 13 months, respectively.

While the economy may be in a recession, it’s a long way from the Great Depression in terms of many indicators.

Between its Sept. 3, 1929, closing high and the end of 1933, the Dow Jones industrials — which then included companies such as Standard Oil and Texas Gulf Sulphur — dropped 73.8 percent. Between its closing high Oct. 9, 2007, and Friday, it is down 37.7 percent.