Table: No Two Recessions Are Alike

1980, 6-month recession

HOW IT STARTED: OPEC raises oil prices in '79; Carter Administration restraint on credit-card borrowing shocks consumers

HOW IT ENDED: Carter lifts credit-card restraints; Fed slashes funds rate

1981-82, 16-Month recession

HOW IT STARTED: Fed raises funds rate to 21% to quell raging inflation

HOW IT ENDED: Inflation ebbs and Fed lowers rates; stock market rebounds; stimulative Reagan tax cuts kick in

1984-86, 29-month slowdown

HOW IT STARTED: Low oil prices flatten oil-patch states such as Texas, Louisiana, and Colorado

HOW IT ENDED: Cheap gasoline helps national economy; coastal economies remain sound

1990-91, 8-month recession

HOW IT STARTED: Real estate woes force banks to tighten credit; Iraq invades Kuwait, and oil soars

HOW IT ENDED: Fed cuts rates; banks shed bad loans; oil prices plunge as allies attack Iraq

1994-96, 13-month slowdown

HOW IT STARTED: Precautionary rate hikes by Fed hurt housing and auto industries

HOW IT ENDED: With the economy still essentially strong, mild Fed easing does the trick

2000, slowdown began in June

HOW IT STARTED: Rising rates and energy costs cause manufacturing to slump while the stock market plunges, and tech investment plummets

HOW IT ENDED: Too soon to tell

Data: National Bureau of Economic Research; David Orr, First Union; BusinessWeek

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