In late October 1929, the US stock market crashed, setting in motion an economic decline that would leave many investors penniless and one in five Americans unemployed. The Great Depression, which began in August 1929 and lasted until March 1933, was the biggest economic contraction since 1879, according to the NBER.
The economy dipped again between May 1937 and June 1938. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program brought relief to many Americans, but the economy remained unsteady for much of the 1930s.
Here, demonstrators march on Boston Common to raise awareness of hunger in 1932.