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I had forgotten how bad the 81 recession was, till I saw your graph. My guess is that foreclosures, mortgage defaults, bankruptcies etc., were also worse in 81 than we have so far seen, and are likely to see, unless we are unlucky. And probably over half the population can't even really remember the 81 recession.

I can! I finished my BA in 1984, and as a member of the 1961 birth cohort - the largest in Canada - job prospects were pretty grim then. Hence the decision to go to grad school. Unhappily for me, that meant looking for an academic job during the 1990-94 recession. I count myself very, very lucky to be where I am now.

OTOH, at least I didn't have to worry about 20% mortgage rates. Yikes!

My experiences were a bit different, because I was only 5 at the time. But I do remember more than a few friends of my parents losing their jobs. My first realization that adults had things to worry about too.

I wonder how much our early experiences have to do with choosing economics as a profession. I was in highschool during the 1990-94 recession when I was first thinking about 'what I want to do when I grow up'. Had we been in a boom I probably never would have developed an interest in the subject!

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