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W-Shaped Recovery

W-Shaped Recovery

What Is a W-Shaped Recovery?

A W-shaped recovery alludes to an economic cycle of recession and recovery that resembles the letter W in charting. A W-shaped recovery addresses the state of the chart of certain economic measures such as employment, gross domestic product (GDP), industrial output, and others.

A W-shaped recovery involves a sharp decline in these metrics followed by a sharp rise back upward, followed again by a sharp decline and ending with another sharp rise. The middle section of the W can address a huge bear market rally or a recovery that was stifled by an additional economic crisis.

Understanding a W-Shaped Recovery

A W-shaped recovery generally describes a period of extreme volatility compared to different types of recoveries. There are countless different shapes a recession and recovery chart could take, including L-shaped, V-shaped, U-shaped and J-shaped. Each shape addresses the general state of the chart of economic metrics that gauge economic health.

A W-shaped recession starts like a V-shaped recession, but then, at that point, turns down again subsequent to showing false indications of recovery. W-shaped recessions are also called "double-dip recessions" because the economy drops twice before the full recovery is achieved.

Yet again a W-shaped recession is painful because numerous investors who jump once again into the markets after they believe the economy has found a base wind up getting burned twice- - - when on the way down and afterward after the false recovery.

The United States encountered a W-shaped recovery in the early 1980s. From January to July 1980 the U.S. economy encountered the initial recession, then entered recovery for almost a full year before dropping into a second recession in 1981 to 1982.

W-Shaped Recovery vs. Different Shapes

A V-shaped economic recession portrays the state of the market's performance. This type of recession gets going with a sharp decline, followed by a strong recovery that is generally fairly quick. This is against the double-dip of a W-shaped recession and recovery. A V-shaped recovery is always referenced as the most ideal situation, given that a recession has occurred. Two notable recessions in history that are viewed as V-shaped are the ones from 1920-21 and 1953-54. Most recession/recovery cycles before the Great Depression and the advent of modern monetary and fiscal policy would in general be V-shaped.

A U-shaped recession is charted like the letter u in visualizations. Unlike the V-shaped recession, this sort of recession may gets going with a more gradual drop. When it ends up in a very difficult situation, it stays there for quite a while prior to turning around toward recovery. The normal period for this type of recession runs anywhere between 12 and 24 months. One example of a U-shaped recession is the one between 1990 and 1991. GDP rebounded relatively quickly, but the positions market stalled out in recession. Total employment didn't recover until 1993, leading this to be dubbed the Jobless Recovery.

A L-shaped recession, then again, is the worst and most sensational sort of recession. It is described by a sharp, steep decline in economic activity followed by a very slow recovery period — frequently a decade or more. To this end the L-shaped recession is also alluded to as a depression, because it takes such a long time to recover. Japan underwent a recession during the 1990s after the central bank raised interest rates because of worries over large asset bubbles in real estate and the stock market. In the wake of raising the rates, these bubbles burst, debt deflation set in, and economic growth plummeted. It took the country over decade to recover from the crash, which is why that period is called the lost decade.


  • W-shaped recessions can be particularly painful because the short recovery that occurs can fool investors into getting back in too early.
  • When charted, major economic performance indicators form the state of a letter "W" during a W-shaped recession.
  • A W-shaped recovery is when an economy goes through a recession into recovery and afterward immediately turns down into another recession.