TOP News

Technology: Are we in a recession or economic depression and what's the difference anyway?

Pope limits public blessings to help against virus spread

  Pope limits public blessings to help against virus spread Pope Francis is further limiting his public appearances to prevent crowds from gathering as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, which by Saturday had reached the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Malta. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The coronavirus outbreak is tightening its grip on day-to-life life across Europe, particularly in Italy, which is the country with the most cases outside of Asia.

Two things are for certain: The coronavirus is bad for the economy and things are bound to get worse before they get better. Some experts say we're already in a recession, while others forecast an economic future more dire than anything we've seen since the Great Depression. But what do "recession" and "economic depression" even mean? And what do they mean for your finances? 

As money gets tighter for millions across the country, some are predicting a recession. Angela Lang/CNET © Provided by CNET As money gets tighter for millions across the country, some are predicting a recession. Angela Lang/CNET   Are we in a recession or economic depression and what's the difference anyway? © Angela Lang/CNET

Layoffs continue to push as many as 16.8 million US workers into unemployment and companies are already beginning to suffer, which is why it's important to educate yourself and prepare. How we label the growing economic crisis affects how we respond to it, from the leaders of government and financial institutions like banks down to individuals like you and me. 

Khloe Kardashian updates status with Tristan Thompson

  Khloe Kardashian updates status with Tristan Thompson Khloe Kardashian said she and her ex aren't together, but they co-parent well.The reality TV star gave an update on her relationship status with her ex after fans wondered if they were on the verge of getting back together, speculation that stemmed from an Instagram post.

To help put the current economic climate into perspective, here's a look at what financial experts typically mean when they use terms like recession and depression, as well as what you can do to support yourself, your community and the national and global economies during this trying time.

The key difference between a recession and an economic depression is time: recessions are a minimum of six months, whereas depressions go on for years. Angela Lang/CNET © Provided by CNET The key difference between a recession and an economic depression is time: recessions are a minimum of six months, whereas depressions go on for years. Angela Lang/CNET

Recession versus depression: What's the difference?

Recession: Most experts agree that a recession happens when the economy shrinks for at least two fiscal quarters in a row -- in other words, six months. This is measured by gross national product, or GDP, which is a number that represents the total value of goods and services produced within a country -- every car built, every hamburger sold, every lawn mowed and so on. A recession, then, is a period of at least six months when that number goes down instead of up. When GDP climbs back to prerecession levels, the recession is over.

Eva Amurri, ex finalized divorce a month before welcoming son

  Eva Amurri, ex finalized divorce a month before welcoming son Eva Amurri, and Kyle Martino finalized their divorce a month before welcoming their son.The "Californication" actress and Kyle Martino welcomed Mateo Antoni Martino on March 13. Page Six reported on Wednesday that the birth came a little over a month after the couple formally divorced.

Depression: A depression is far more uncommon and longer lasting. For example, in the last 166 years, there have been 33 recessions and only one depression. Think of a depression as two or more recessions linked together with no economic recovery in between. The Great Depression of the 1930s is the most recent and well-known example. Economic depressions last years as opposed to months.

The take-home lesson here is that a recession can't be defined until at least half a year has passed, and a depression can almost never be identified until after it's happened. 

Demi Lovato linked to soap star

  Demi Lovato linked to soap star Demi Lovato is reportedly dating "The Young and the Restless" star Max Ehrich.A report by Us Weekly on Wednesday claims the singer has been quietly dating "The Young and the Restless" star Max Ehrich.

So, what do we call the not-so-great economic state that we're in? What can the government do to fix it? Or individuals? And where do you go if you need financial help?

Let's zoom in on the current crisis and take a look.

New movie calendar for 2020 and 2021 following coronavirus delays

What's our current economic situation?

Technically, we're in an economic downturn right now, but that could change. Economic downturns are a normal, regular part of a healthy economy that ebbs and flows, with periods of growth followed by periods of contraction.

Khloe Kardashian claps back after fan calls her a hypocrite

  Khloe Kardashian claps back after fan calls her a hypocrite A fan called out Khloe Kardashian for the "hypocrisy" surrounding her ex.On Thursday, the reality TV star clapped back at a Twitter follower for calling her a hypocrite about her ex's betrayal last year.

What makes this downturn different is that it's caused by the coronavirus, through the closure of nonessential businesses and high unemployment -- not through a natural economic shift or cycle. Until it's considered safe enough to open businesses and factories, the economic conditions are expected to worsen. 

A leveling off of the pandemic by either a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine or an effective treatment for COVID-19 (or both) may be the most obvious solution, and that will take time.

a close up of a piece of paper: The US government will inject $2 trillion into the economy over the coming months in an effort to stave off a recession, including sending up to $1,200 checks to individuals. Angela Lang/CNET © Provided by CNET The US government will inject $2 trillion into the economy over the coming months in an effort to stave off a recession, including sending up to $1,200 checks to individuals. Angela Lang/CNET

How the government is trying to bolster the economy and avoid recession

The recent $2 trillion stimulus package represents the US government's first attempt at thwarting a recession, but we won't be able to measure its impact for some time. The economic relief law includes stimulus payments of up to $1,200 for most US taxpayers, as well as a loan program for businesses to be able to keep paying their employees.

The Federal Reserve recently indicated it will continue to hold interest rates close to 0% for the foreseeable future, which often has the effect of encouraging more borrowing, which leads to more spending, and that generally improves the economy.

U.S. cities best positioned to recover from the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be less densely populated as more crowded metro areas will be deemed risky

  U.S. cities best positioned to recover from the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be less densely populated as more crowded metro areas will be deemed risky Durham, North Carolina, and San Jose, California, are among the U.S. cities that can expect to bounce back quicker from the coronavirus pandemic and the recession caused by its subsequent shutdowns, a new report states. Low population density and educational attainment are the two key factors that will aid recovery in metro areas, leaving places such as Honolulu, Hawaii, and Miami, Florida, struggling in comparison, according to the report from Moody's Analytics.

Finally, doctors and scientists are racing to develop either a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, a COVID-19 treatment or both. Human trials of a potential vaccine are slated to begin in mid-May, but it may still be another year or longer before anything is approved for widespread use.

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Buying gift cards from local businesses can help keep them afloat while they're closed down. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET © Provided by CNET Buying gift cards from local businesses can help keep them afloat while they're closed down. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

What can I do to help out?

It's easy to feel helpless, but there are ways to make a difference. My CNET colleague Katie Conner has some excellent recommendations for things you can do to help your local community and businesses, including no-cost contributions like online volunteering or donating blood, as well as ordering take-out or delivery, and buying restaurant gift cards. 

Other local businesses like bookstores, gardening centers, toy shops and boutiques may have a website where you can order and possibly even save on shipping costs by picking up curbside.

The best advice I've heard so far about how you can individually help prop up the economy is this: Spend to the best of your ability and within your means.

Fighting coronavirus: COVID-19 tests, vaccine research, masks, ventilators and more

What if I need help?

If you've suffered financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, here are some resources you can turn to for help:

Zoë Kravitz Reveals Concerns About the Prospect of Resuming Filming on The Batman amid COVID-19

  Zoë Kravitz Reveals Concerns About the Prospect of Resuming Filming on The Batman amid COVID-19 "I was probably touched more than any job [on The Batman], just because of the clothes and the combat and all of that," Zoë Kravitz saidThe actress, 31, spoke to Variety about her concerns saying she's "hoping to wake up every day to an email or a phone call saying, 'We're ready to go,' " but understands it might take a while for that call to come.

  • Figure out how much of a stimulus check (up to $1,200) you're eligible for and when you can expect it.
  • If you're having trouble making rent, here are some tools and resources that might help.
  • Here's how to get financial relief regarding taxes, mortgage payments, credit cards and more.
  • Find out how banks and credit cards specifically are helping out during the pandemic.
  • While waiting for your stimulus check or unemployment payment, check out these five ways to save money.
  • Need to delay some bills but don't know how to ask for an extension? This app can help.
  • Finally, where there's money there's scammers -- here's how to identify online and text attacks.

Leave It to Beaver Actor Ken Osmond Died of Heart and Lung Failure: Report .
Ken Osmond died on May 18 at his home in Los Angeles , a rep for the late star told Variety. He was surrounded by family.A rep for Osmond did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.Osmond is most known for his role in the beloved comedy Leave It to Beaver. The series followed Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver and his adventures at home, school and around his neighborhood. In the show, Osmond played Eddie Haskel, the smart-mouthed kid who was best friends with Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow).Osmond was just 14 when he was cast for the role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

See also