The recent recession was unusual because it stemmed from an unsustainable easing of credit standards and financing, which fueled the prior expansion but also the imbalances that led to the worst recession since the 1930s. When losses on new financial practices ended excessive lending, the economy was hit by housing and credit shocks, culminating in a financial crisis. Home construction plunged, wealth fell, credit standards tightened and financial markets seized up. ; The initial impacts of these four shocks on gross domestic product (GDP) were amplified by cyclical interactions between income and spending. Since the second half of 2009, these negative shocks have been unwinding, setting the stage for economic recovery. An analysis of the shocks and their aftermath offers clues to the direction and pace of the recovery.