The Great Recession technically lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. During this time, economic conditions around the planet deteriorated rapidly, sharply declining in the third quarter of 2008 in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, once the fourth-largest investment bank in the world. The collapse was a major contributor to a contraction in U.S. gross domestic product that persisted until the first quarter of 2010.
To say that the late-2000s financial crisis was devastating would be an understatement, but there doesn’t seem to be a generally accepted set of adjectives to appropriately describe the situation, thus ‘devastating’ is a good stand-in. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in February of 2013 that U.S. GDP growth would remain below its potential until at least 2017, indicating that not only did the recession destroy years worth of economic productivity, but that it had hamstringed growth for years to come.
The CBO wrote that, “The total loss of output, relative to the economy’s potential, between 2007 and 2017, will be equivalent to nearly half of the output that the United States produced last year.”