Economy too bad to get any worse?

Some observers say we'll avoid a double dip because things are already so miserable.

By Kim Peterson Sep 2, 2010 1:08PM
Arrow © Photodisc/SuperstockHere's an interesting theory from Bloomberg News: The chances of a double dip back into recession are slim because the data just can't get much worse.

The key sectors of the economy that normally are recession indicators are extremely depressed. Car sales are pathetic. Housing construction is miserable. Things are so bad, in fact, there's nowhere to go but up.

So, uh, that's good news? "It doesn't rule out a recession," one economic researcher told Bloomberg. "It just makes it less likely than otherwise."He puts the chance of a double dip at 1 in 4.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is much more optimistic, predicting that the economy would grow for the rest of the year "albeit at a relatively modest pace," according to Bloomberg.

The news service interviewed a former Fed governor who put the chance of a double-dip at 35%. That's up from the 10% to 20% range a month ago. Even if we avoid sliding back into recession, he said, we'll probably see the economy grow by less than 2% for some time.

In the end, does it really matter? Double dip or slow, disappointing recovery -- either way, we're in for a prolonged period of pain.
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