Recession Watch: Signs of the economic slowdown abound

This post is part of a series about real-life signs we're in a recession.

The good news about the recession is that there are bargains to be had for the adventurous shopper. The bad news is that many people are not able to afford them.

Times are tough and the economy is slowing. The National Bureau of Economic Research has not officially pronounced that the U.S. is in a recession -- technically two consecutive quarters of negative Gross Domestic Product Growth. GDP rose 1.9 percent last year and is expected to decline in the first quarter by 0.1%, according to Morgan Stanley.

Yet some economists, including David Wyss of Standard & Poor's, argue that a recession is already in progress. He believes that the economy is half-way through the slowdown, which he expects to be mild as recessions go. "It's still going to hurt," he said in an interview. "Recessions always do."

Indeed, signs of a recession are all around us. People are doing without a full tank of gas. They are watching their pennies at the grocery store. They are learning to do without things that they thought, until recently, they could not do without -- including $10,000 summer camps. Many are watching their homes decrease in value at an alarming rate and foreclosures have hit records.

In WalletPop's Recession Watch series, bloggers documented some of the new trends brought about by the economic slowdown. For example, some young adults are moving in with their grandparents. Businesses of all sizes are merging to save money. Others, such as a karate dojo, are adding quirky new side businesses, such as selling balloons.

Here are some other additional signs of looming recession: