Is there another U.S. recession on the way?
That's a question rattling investors, worrying business leaders and shaping the debate on the presidential campaign trail.
The answer depends a lot on how you measure the strength and durability of the recovery, now in its seventh year based the business cycle dates tracked by economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
"There is always some chance of recession in any year," Fed Chair Janet Yellen told Senators on Thursday. "But the evidence suggests that expansions don't die of old age."
To see how this recovery compares, CNBC tracked a series of economic and market data over the last eight recessions since 1960 — starting each cycle with the beginning of each downturn.
By just about every measure, the current expansion has been the weakest of the eight.
One of the main reasons has been the relatively sluggish pace of spending an investment — by consumers, government and businesses — since the Great Recession began in December 2007. Consumer spending has recovered far more slowly than past recoveries. And despite a massive stimulus program in 2010, government spending at all levels is actually lower than when the Great Recession hit.