Despite a bombardment of bad news in recent weeks, economists don’t expect another recession over the next 12 months—but economic growth will barely be perceptible in that period, an AP poll of top economists finds. They expect high unemployment and weak consumer spending to dog the US into next year. Overall, the outlook is poorer than it was in June: That month, the 43 economists surveyed saw a 15% chance of double-dip recession; now, they report a 26% chance.
They expect the economy to grow at a 2% annual rate this quarter and a 2.2% rate from October to December. That’s better than the first half of 2011, but too little to make a real dent in unemployment, which they expect to stand at 9% at the end of this year and 8.5% at the end of 2012. Meanwhile, they cite a “major” risk to the economy from weak consumer spending. “I had been saying it was a half-speed recovery; now, it's a quarter-speed recovery,” says one.