The "Great Recession" was even greater than previously thought, and the U.S. economy has skated uncomfortably close to a new one this year.
New data on Friday showed the 2007-2009 U.S. recession were much more severe than prior measures had found, with economic output declining a cumulative of 5.1 percent instead of 4.1 percent.
The report also showed the current slowdown began earlier and has been deeper than previously thought, with growth in the first quarter advancing at only a 0.4 percent annual pace.
The data indicated the economy began slowing in the fourth quarter of last year before high gasoline prices and supply chain disruptions from Japan's earthquake had hit, suggesting the weakness is more fundamental and less temporary than economists had believed.
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