Next month, the US recession is set to become the longest since the Great Depression, but the Wall Street Journal, in the first up-beat prediction in months, musters “tentative” signs that things could be turning around. Consumer spending and sentiment rose in February, the housing market is looking more stable, and hopes are rising for manufacturing. But even if the recession ends soon on paper, we’re likely to feel its effects long afterward, the Journal notes.
“Most Americans will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a recession and recovery the next 12 months,” notes one economist. Even if economic growth reaches 3% by late next year, unemployment could rise to 10.5% from the current 8.1%, says another. But “we've passed the period where every indicator is plummeting, and that's good news," he notes. "We may not be exactly at the turning point, but we're getting pretty close to it."