Here's a note of 13 of the worst recessions / depressions in US history.
1. Panic of 1797
Problems first emerged in the US when the Bubble of land speculation burst in 1796. The crisis deepened into a broader depression when the Bank of England suspended specie payments in February1797 under the Bank Restriction Act 1797.
2. Depression of 1807
In 1807, the United States Congress passed an act known as the Embargo Act, in an attempt to punish Britain for its attack on a United States frigate, which killed three Americans. The Act prohibited trade between the countries, resulting in a complete failure of the American export economy, which was hugely dependent on Britain at the time.
3. 1815 - 1821 Depression
Inflation followed the War of 1812 and inspired a financial panic causing high unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcy across the US.
4. Panic of 1837
The Panic of 1837 was a financial crisis in the United States built on speculative fever. As a result of the speculation, the government declared all loans must be paid in full using only gold and silver coins. Many banks failed to do so.
5. Panic Of 1857
Another financial panic in the United States caused by the declining international economy and overexpansion of the domestic economy. Foreign trust in domestic railroad industry tanked, and confidence in banks dropped; 5,000+ businesses failed within 1 year.
6. Panic of 1873
The Panic of 1873 triggered a severe international economic depression in both Europe and the United States that lasted six years.
7. Panic of 1893
The callapse of railroad overbuilding, the failure of profits, investments and income stability led to a serious economic depression in the US.
8. Panic of 1907
Also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic, it occurred in the US when the New York Stock Exchange fell close to 50% from its peak the previous year.
9. Depression of 1920-21
A sharp deflationary recession (the most deflation in USA history) led to the depression that occurred shortly after the end of World War I. The cause of the depression related to the adjustments in the economy following the war.
10. The Great Depression
The Great Depression began in October 1929, when the stock market in the United States dropped
rapidly. It was the longest, most widespread, and deepest depression of the 20th century and left 16
million people unemployed.
11. 1973-75 Recession
This was caused by government spending in the Vietnam War and the quadrupling of oil prices in the US.
12. Early 1980’s Recession
The early 80’s recession was caused by the 1979 energy crisis.
13. Current Recession
Initiated by the subprime mortgage crisis, the housing market of the United States collapsing, high oil and food prices. Several big companies received government bailouts, but many went bankrupt.
Sources: 24/7 Wallstreet, Wikipedia, Associated Content Yahoo, BBC