There’s no question this is a lousy recovery. But is it the worst since World War II, or only the second-worst? It depends on how you count.

The economy bottomed out in the second quarter of 2009. In the three years since then, it’s grown 6.7%. No three-year period following a recession has seen such slow growth in the post-war period. Most haven’t even been close.

But the 1980 recession is tricky. Technically, the recovery lasted just four quarters before the economy fell back into recession. Taking that recovery by itself, the economy grew just 4.4%, making it the worst recovery on record.

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