The long, slow, painful recovery has convinced more than half of Americans that the United States is still in either a recession or depression — despite the official “end” of the recession in June 2009.
A new Gallup poll shows that 55 percent of Americans think that the recession or a depression continues to grip the nation. Another 16 percent believe that the economy is slowing. Just 27 percent think the economy is growing now.
These numbers fly in the face of the recent Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement that the economy is experiencing a “moderate” recovery.
The body that determines the beginnings and ends of U.S recessions, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), pegged the last “trough” for the economy in summer 2009, ending the huge contraction that began in December 2007. The NBER never calls an end to recessions but does note when economic contractions cease and expansions begin, albeit slowly in this case
|Gasoline prices have surged.
(Getty Images photo)
“While most Americans seem to disagree with the FOMC's characterization of the economy, their current assessment is better than that of September 2008 — during the height of the financial crisis — when 69 percent said the economy was in a recession or depression,” Gallup said in a release.
“On the other hand, current attitudes are more downbeat, overall, than they were in early February 2008, when 45 percent considered the economy to be in either a recession or a depression. However, Americans are much more likely today to perceive the economy as growing rather than slowing down,” Gallup noted.
The economy grew at a weak 1.8 percent pace in the first quarter, far slower than is needed to generate job growth at a rate that would turn around a punishingly high unemployment rate of 8.8 percent.
Meanwhile, inflation is beginning to pick up, hitting 3.8 percent in the first quarter, according to Commerce Department data.
Considering gas prices are at $3.88 on average, nationally, it’s no surprise that the latest Gallup Daily tracking data show that 67 percent of Americans say the economy is "getting worse."
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday asked the nation for patience, saying that relatively high prices for food and energy are likely to be “transitory.”
"I would agree with Bernanke on inflation not lasting. That makes sense," Frances Hudson, global thematic strategist for Standard Life Investments in Edinburgh, Scotland, told CNNMoney.
"But employment is not picking up as fast as you'd hope for. It's possible that GDP for the rest of the year will be similarly sluggish."
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