Because we are so spread out and goods are transported over such vast distances, our economy is particularly vulnerable to oil price shocks, and that is one reason why the events that we just witnessed in the Middle East are so alarming. According to an article that was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in 2007, five of the last seven U.S. recessions that had occurred up to that time "were preceded by considerable increases in oil prices". Since that article was published in 2007, the recession that began in 2008 hadn't happened yet, and of course that recession was immediately preceded by the largest oil price spike in history. So that means that six of the last eight U.S. recessions were preceded by oil price spikes, and now we may be facing another one. It is being reported that it may take "months" for Saudi Arabia to fully repair the damage that was done to their oil industry, and that could fundamentally alter the balance of supply and demand in the global marketplace.
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