Wall Street and economists have a standard to call a recession - essentially two negative GDP quarters. Of course GDP relies on government statistics... which we've seen are close to useless. Interesting article on Yahoo Finance on nearly 2/3rd of Americans believing we are in a recession. I'd call this a Main Street Recession. And Wall Street won't acknowledge it unless their funky models say so next fall...
I am sure this will be explained away by those "nutty sub prime people who got in over their heads" but I believe the combination of real inflation well above what is reported combined with traditional 3% wage growth is the force behind this angst. It can be hidden by credit expansion and house ATM for those homeowners, but in this era of home depreciation a lot of what was hidden below the surface is now being shown as the tide of credit runs back, and more and more shore is exposed.
- Empty homes and for-sale signs clutter neighborhoods. You've lost your job or know someone who has. Your paycheck and nest egg are taking a hit. Could the country be in recession?
- Sixty-one percent of the public believes the economy is now suffering through its first recession since 2001, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.
- "Absolutely, we're in a recession," said Hilda Sanchez, 44, of Waterford, Calif. Squeezed by high energy and food bills, "we can't afford the things that we normally buy," she said. "We are cutting corners in our spending. For our groceries, we are buying a lot of generic and we are eating out less."
- Credit has become harder to get, thwarting would-be home buyers, adding to the glut of unsold homes and aggravating the housing industry's woes.
- "For-sale signs are everywhere. In my area, 35 to 40 homes are standing there and aren't even complete. There aren't any buyers," said Jim Sims, 60, of Greer, S.C.
- Nanette Dahlin, 52, of St. Louis Park, Minn., called the situation "very scary." She said friends in Madison, Minn., put their home up for sale recently and reduced the asking price more than $100,000 in just a week. "They are in bad shape," Dahlin said.
- A cooling job market along with high energy and food prices are taking a toll on paychecks. Workers' average weekly earnings, adjusted for inflation, fell 0.9 percent last year. In 2006, earnings grew by a solid 2.1 percent.
- In fact, that was the top economic worry in the AP-Ipsos poll. Fifty-nine percent said they were worried "a lot" or "some" about seeing the value of stocks and retirement investments drop.
- "People are both depressed and anxious about the state of affairs. The anxiety is going to persist because we are in an uncertain season economically and politically," said Terry Connelly, dean of Golden Gate University's Ageno School of Business.