In early 1982, the nation remained in the grip
of a painful business recession that began in
the spring or summer of 1981. The Midwest,
with its heavy concentration of durable goods
manufacturing, was the region of the country
most severely affected. Declines in production
were reported for most types of manufacturing,
agriculture, trade, transportation,
and even government. Coming on the heels
of the downturn that ended in the second
quarter of 1980, the 1981 recession was an
unprecedented second recession in two years.
Moreover, in contrast with most downturns
of the past, the 1981 recession began at a time
when the economy had significant margins of
unused capacity, both material and human.