A cascade of bleak financial news has convinced most economists in a Wall Street Journal poll that the US is already in a recession. The results are markedly more negative than a similar survey only five weeks ago, and much of the foul mood can be traced to last week’s dismal employment report. “The evidence is now beyond a reasonable doubt,” said one. Of the 51 economists polled, 71% said recession had arrived.
Most respondents predicted continued bad news on the employment front. They expect nonfarm payrolls to grow by only 9,000 jobs a month—a massive decline from the 48,500 predicted in the last survey. About half see the current downturn as being worse than those of 2001 and 1990. When will things get better? Most say the recovery will begin in the second half of this year.