The Recession ABCs

Charting the Greatest Hits from the economy’s biggest Ls

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We’ve talked about the “lipstick index” before – the debunked theory that we splurge on small luxuries more frequently during a recession. After booming in early 2022, the effect’s beginning to fade. Blame the decidedly-less-rosy “misery index” – which got us thinking about other Greatest Hits coined during economic downturns. 

So gather ‘round: it’s time for recession ABCs. 

(What even is a “recession,” anyway? Technically-speaking, it’s when a country’s GDP declines for 2+ straight quarters.)

The dot-com bubble 

Economic “bubbles” date wayyyyyyyyy back to the infamous South Sea Bubble of 1720, when British investors got whipped into a speculative frenzy, only to lose their waistcoats. Fast-forward to 2000, when “dot-com” startups collectively went poof. Unfortunately, most bubbles only seem obvious after they’ve burst.

See also:The everything bubble” 

Like a regular bubble, only instead of one industry being up, everything’s up. (And we do mean everything.) Which only makes it that much more 😱when it finally pops. 

The Shecession 

COVID’s economic effects hit everyone hard. It just hit women harder (especially WOC). The unemployment rate for women jumped to 15% in spring 2020, and the effects continue to linger.

See also: “Mancession”

Coined during the Great Recession, after men accounted for 80% of job losses in ‘09.

The Great Recession 

As in, the Great Depression. Although, turns out the punny moniker’s not exactly fresh. It’s been used to describe recessions big and small since the early ‘70s.

See also: “Bailout” 

Another golden oldie. Merriam-Webster’s 2008 “Word of the Year” first appeared in print in 1939, the year the US economy finally pulled out of the Great Depression. Makes sense. Remakes were big business in the 2000s.


The short-term rental market exploded as a pandemic hustle in 2021, leading to a 62% increase in listings, and a crash course in supply-and-demand for would-be Airbnbarons. In markets where listings boomed by over 50%, occupancy rates have dropped by 10%. Even though bookings are down, the company reported record profits in Q3 — meaning it’s still too early to say for sure if this Airbnbubble has Airbnburst

See also: “Staycation”

This WWII-era mashup morphed from quippy way of saying “We can’t afford to go away” during the Great Recession to a form of pandemic self-care. Glow-up!