A contraction is a period when economic output declines.During this phase, the economy is producing fewer goods and services than it did before.More jobs mean more people with incomes to purchase goods and services. And you can likely see how more employment and income can help push the economy to even higher levels of output.

So, economic expansion usually means that two key economic indicators are increasing—economic output and employment.

In practical terms, this means that the economy is producing more of the goods and services that we want and more people have jobs.

More specifically, the term refers to the fluctuating levels of economic activity over a period of time measured from the beginning of one recession to the beginning of the next.

The upward and downward movements indicate specific phases of the business cycle.

It’s a thrilling ride—well, for most of the riders, anyway.

However, when it comes to the economy, most people prefer that it be a wild ride.

In other words, as firms increase output, they usually hire more workers.

As a result, when output rises, employment tends to rise as well.

If output continues to increase beyond this previous high mark, then the next expansion begins.