Thursday, May 14, 2009

Economists See Long Road to Recovery

Economists in the latest Wall Street Journal survey see an end to the recession by autumn, but say it will take years for the economy to fully recover.

"In general, I think it will be a subdued recovery," said Paul Kasriel of The Northern Trust Corp.

On average, the 52 economists who participated in the survey project that the recession will end in August. They expect gross domestic product to contract 1.4% at a seasonally adjusted annualized pace in the current quarter, compared with the 6.1% drop recorded in the first quarter. Slow growth is expected to return by the third quarter, with the economy expanding more than 2% in the first half of 2010.

Kelly Evans and Phil Izzo discuss the findings of the latest WSJ economist survey, which found that while economists have stopped being pessimists, some still see at least one more quarter of negative growth.

The survey was conducted before the Commerce Department's report this week that retail sales fell 0.4% in April from the previous month, which left some economists questioning whether consumer spending is ready to rebound. Initial unemployment claims released Thursday brought more gloomy news: Seasonally adjusted claims in the week ended May 9 increased 32,000 to 637,000 from a revised 605,000 in the preceding week. Most of the losses can be chalked up to Chrysler LLC's 27,000 layoffs following its April 30 bankruptcy filing.

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