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There have been 15 recessions in the United States since the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1869.  From the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 to the Great Depression starting in 1929; from the Savings and Loan Crisis of 1990 to the Pandemic-induced recession of 2020, Central Minnesota’s business community has always shown its resilience by banding together, sharing resources and looking to the Chamber of Commerce to provide meaningful resources, connections, programing, and business development opportunities.  Much has changed over the course of history, indeed.  But the fact remains…
 
We were here then.  We’re here for you now.

1873
Jay Cooke & Company was the largest bank in the United States when it failed. Subsequent labor issues led to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. That recession lasted more than five years.  Much has changed over the course of history, indeed.  But the fact remains…We were here then.  And we’re here for you now.
 
In 1873,  the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce supported local businesses.  Today, you can find local businesses on the Chamber’s business directory.
 
1893
The failure of the Reading Railroad was a key component of a recession that started in 1892 and lasted approximately four years. Unemployment topped 12 percent, by some estimates. Over 500 banks closed.  In 1893, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce was an advocate for business development.  Today, business advocacy is a core piece of the Chamber’s mission.
 
1907
Congress created the Federal Reserve System in response to the collapse of New York's Knickerbocker Trust Co. The stock market dropped dramatically and began a year-long recession.  In 1907 the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce helped business leaders learn from each other. Today, your local Chamber offers leadership development for business owners and managers.
 
1929–38 (The Great Depression)
This was the biggest economic crisis in U.S. history to this point. Unemployment reached 25 percent in 1933 and remained at 19 percent in 1938. The Depression ended because of three things: the New Deal, the end of a significant and lengthy drought that caused the Dust Bowl and increased spending for World War II.  In 1929, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce supported many local businesses and the local agriculture community.  Today, your Chamber sponsors the largest indoor Farm Show in the Upper Midwest.
 
1945
In 1945, the country experienced another recession that lasted eight months.  It was a natural result of the demobilization from World War II and the sharp drop in demand for military weapons. Government spending also dropped, although business spending was robust. In 1945, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce encouraged local entrepreneurship, and it still does today.  Your local Chamber offers a variety of promotion opportunities to local entrepreneurs.

1949
This 11-month recession went from November 1948 to October 1949, when unemployment reached a peak of 7.9 percent. It was a mild adjustment as the economy continued adapting to peacetime production.  In 1949, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce helped business owners gather together to network, just like it does in 2020.  Today you can meet business representatives from around the region at Chamber programs.
 
1953
As with WWII, the recession of 1953 was the result of demobilization following the Korean War.  The recession lasted 10 months, from July 1953 to May 1954.  In 1953, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce welcomed back Veterans. We advocate for and appreciate our Veterans now as well.  Today, your local Chamber offers professional development to business owners and employees, including Veterans.
 
1957
In the 1957 recession, which took place from August 1957 to April 1958, GDP fell 4.1 percent in Q4 1957, then plummeted another 10 percent in Q1 1958. Unemployment didn't reach its peak of 7.5 percent until July 1958. The Fed's contractionary monetary policy, (the use of monetary tools intended to fight inflation) was widely considered the cause of this economic slowdown. In 1957 the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce helped local businesses understand government policy.  Today, your local Chamber is the Voice of Business, advocating for your business in Central Minnesota, at the Capitol, and beyond.
 
1960
Starting in April 1960, this recession lasted 10 months.  President John F. Kennedy ended the recession with stimulus spending. In 1960, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce invited speakers on government topics to inform our Chamber members on the important issues of the day.  Today, your local Chamber travels to Washington, D.C., each year to deliver our small business message and advocate for your business.
 
1970
This recession was relatively mild, lasting 11 months – from December 1969 to November 1970. Unemployment peaked at 6.1 percent in December 1970. In 1970, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce encouraged networking for job growth.  Today, your local Chamber provides an online job bank for employers and job seekers to connect.
 
1973–75
This recession lasted from November 1973 to March 1975. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was blamed for quadrupling oil prices, but the OPEC oil embargo alone didn't cause such a deep recession. Two other factors contributed:
-First, President Nixon instituted wage-price controls. This kept prices too high, reducing demand. Wage controls made salaries too high and forced businesses to lay off workers.
-Second, Nixon took the United States off the gold standard in response to a run on the gold held at Fort Knox, which led to inflation. The price of gold skyrocketed to $120 an ounce while the dollar's value plummeted. 

The result was stagflation and five quarters of negative GDP growth.  Unemployment reached a peak of 9 percent in May 1975, two months after the recession had ended.  In the early 1970s, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce helped local businesses understand government policy and provided resources and support to local businesses.  Today, your local Chamber is the Voice of Business and offers professional development to business owners and employees to support a thriving business community.
 
1980–82
The economy suffered a double whammy of two recessions in this period. There was one during the first six months of 1980. The second lasted 16 months, from July 1981 to November 1982.
 
The Fed caused this recession by raising interest rates to combat inflation. That reduced business spending. The Iranian oil embargo aggravated economic conditions by reducing U.S. oil supplies, which drove up prices.
 
GDP was negative for six of the 12 quarters. Until the 2008–2009 Great Recession, that was the worst quarterly decline since the Great Depression. Unemployment rose to 10.8 percent in November and December 1982, the highest level in any modern recession. It was above 10 percent for 10 months. President Reagan lowered the tax rate and boosted the defense budget, helping to end the recession.  In the early 1980s, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce encouraged networking for job growth.  Today, your local Chamber provides an online job bank for employers and job seekers to connect.
 
1990–91
The savings and loan crisis cause this recession, which ran from July 1990 to March 1991. In 1990-91, the Chamber was an advocate for business development.  Today, business advocacy is a core piece of the Chamber’s mission.
 
2001
The 2001 recession lasted eight months, beginning in March. It was caused by a boom and subsequent bust in dot-com businesses. The boom was partially created by the Y2K scare in 2000. Companies bought billions of dollars-worth of new software because they were afraid the old systems weren't designed to transition from the 1900s to the 2000s. But many dot-com businesses were significantly overvalued and failed.
 
The 9/11 attack worsened the recession. The economy contracted in two quarters and unemployment continued rising until it peaked at 6.3 percent in June 2003, long after the recession had been declared over.  The terrorist attack on the United States is remembered as one of the darkest times in our country’s history.  And yet, we persevered and joined together to fight and press on.  In 2001, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce was an advocate for business development.  Today, business advocacy is a core piece of the Chamber’s mission.
 
 
2008–09
The Great Recession was the worst financial crisis in the United States since the 1929 Depression. It also was the longest-lasting, extending from December 2007 to June 2009. The subprime mortgage crisis was the trigger, creating a global bank credit crisis in 2007. By 2008, the credit crisis had spread to the general economy through the widespread use of derivatives.

The economy shrank over five consecutive quarters. Two quarters contracted more than five percent. In Q4 2008, GDP was -8.4 percent, worse than any other recession since the Great Depression. The recession ended in Q3 2009, when GDP turned positive, thanks to an economic stimulus package that supported infrastructure investments across the country and a sizeable loan to Detroit’s Auto industry, which was eventually paid back.
 
In the Great Recession of 2008-09, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce encouraged local entrepreneurship.  We still do today. Your local Chamber offers a variety of promotion opportunities to local entrepreneurs.
 
2020
The 2020 recession began in the first quarter of the year when the economy contracted 5 percent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The recession was largely caused by government-ordered shutdowns to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced on June 8, 2020 that "the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions."
 
In 2020 the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce reinvented networking and business promotion
 
We were here for you through the last 15 recessions…and we’re here for you now.