This has been the weakest earnings cycle in 55 years. Every earnings cycle over the past 55 years has generated about a 7% annualized earnings per share (EPS) growth rate, when measured from peak to peak or from trough to trough. The best multi-year earnings cycle measured from prior peak to the next peak was an annualized 9.1% and the worst 5.6%, with most clustered tightly around the average of 7.3%. This is notable given the differing levels of inflation, interest rates, and economic growth that companies had to adapt to in each cycle. However, the current cycle — while not yet over — has been much weaker than the average, generating only a 2.8% annualized growth rate from the prior cycle peak in the second quarter of 2007 through the first quarter of 2014.