War, oil caused most U.S recessions since 1950

Reuters | Wars and sharp spikes in oil prices were behind most of the seven recessions in the United States since the Great Depression.

Following is a list of recessions since 1950:

1953 — Inflation caused by spending during the Korean War prompted the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy, causing a one-year recession.

1957-1958 — A recession hit developing countries the hardest because industrial nations sharply cut their purchases of minerals and farm products. U.S. unemployment rose during this period but, unusual for a recession, prices did also.

1973-1975 — The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, quadrupled oil prices. That and the ongoing expense of the Vietnam war caused two years of inflation with little or no growth.

1980, 1981-82 — The Federal Reserve’s sharp rise in rates to quell the inflationary period of the 1970s and another spike in oil prices, this time triggered by the Iranian revolution, tipped the United States into a brief recession in 1980. A short expansion was followed by a deeper downturn from 1981 to late 1982.

1990-1991 — A credit crisis prompted by the insolvency of many failed U.S. savings and loans and a spike in oil prices during the first Gulf War resulted in a contraction followed by several years of sub-par growth.

2001-2002 — The bursting of the dot-com bubble, the Sept 11 attacks and corporate accounting scandals induced a relatively short and shallow recession followed by two years of slow growth.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Philip Barbara)