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When crisis hit, we fell far and fast

What America experienced in 2008 wasn't just the start of a recession, or a negative market cycle. We've had lots of both. Nor was it the realization of an existential outside threat, like war or natural disaster.

The reality: Instead, it was a sudden and pervasive fear that the foundation of America's economy had crumbled, in a way that few had ever previously internalized. Not paranoia, but justified panic.

Data: Yahoo! Finance; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios
  • The S&P 500 fell 28% in the 22 trading days after Lehman went bankrupt. It would keep sinking for another six months, losing nearly half its value.
  • The VIX, a measure of stock market volatility, had all ten of its all-time highs in October and November 2008.
  • Gross domestic product shrunk by 8.9% in Q4 2008, its worst quarterly mark in 50 years.
  • The unemployment rate nearly doubled between January 2008 and January 2010, rising from 5% to 9.8%.
  • Home mortgage defaults climbed from 3.66% to 11.54% over the same time period.

🎧 Go deeper in our latest Axios Pro Rata podcast, with Dan Primack and Fox News' Neil Cavuto.

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