Fully 71% of 51 Economists of surveyed agreed the US economy has slid into recession according to Wall Street Journals online edition today.
Retail sales fell a pointed .6% in February as consumer spending tumbled. Consumers continue to grapple with high fuel prices, bad home value information and shrinking 401Ks due to market issues.
This is a big turnaround from just 5 weeks ago. 20 surveyed felt the economy would actually go backwards for the year and that unemployment would rise to 5.5%
The turnaround in opinion can be traced to the recent employment report that showed a loss of 63,000 jobs for the month. The second month in a row with negative job growth.
A better phrase is probably "recessionary" as the textbook definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of GNP (Gross National Product) decline. However, I prefer the "Poor Richard" definition. "A Recession is when your friend loses his job, a depression is when you do!"
Unless some stability to home and gas prices (although in different directions!) can be found the public psychology is going to get tighter which could accelerate the slowdown. It is going to be a tough Election round in the US. As the sign said..."It's the Economy, Stupid!"