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The Great Recession, as we call it now, began in August 2007, after the U.S.housing bubble began to burst. It went global a couple of months later before the bottom fell out completely in September 2008.

And while some say the crisis ended in June 2009, a lot of still unemployed people (including some still employed who thought they might be retired by now) might take issue with that date.

Bankruptcies, falling home values, and plummeting stocks marked the worst economic downturn this country’s seen since the 1930s. Real GDP tumbled, capital investment vanished, and income levels fell. One Bloomberg report from 2009 estimated that, globally, companies saw a loss of more than $14 trillion in value.

But it’s the unemployment rate that gets the most headlines—and most directly affects the broker business. The employment market really began hemorrhaging jobs in December 2007. By September 2008, the jobless rate really started to tick up, with the bankruptcy of the venerable investment firm Lehman Brothers shaking the market to its core. By October 2009, the unemployment rate reached an ugly milestone, hitting 10 percent, before slowly ticking back down.

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