With stock prices spiraling downward and treasury yields tanking, the market has been sending a clear message this week: The fragile economic recovery is in trouble. But just how bad is the outlook? In the aftermath of a bleak second quarter, experts are still divided about the likelihood of a double-dip recession. What’s becoming clearer with each new report, though, is that the economy–even if it doesn’t double dip–is steadily losing ground.
The economic souring is, of course, being spearheaded by a familiar cast of characters: An anemic labor market, a skeptical consumer base, a weak housing market, and a global debt crisis that threatens to overwhelm national governments, just to name a few. Further deterioration in even one of these arenas could be enough to trigger a double-dip, which is loosely defined as a period during which a recovery is interrupted by economic contraction, usually in the form of negative GDP growth.
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