Economists expect recession to end in September


Yesterday White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers expressed cautious optimism that the sense that the American economy is in free-fall would abate within the next few months. Now a survey of 53 economists by The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) shows that this group shares his opinion. Those surveyed generally expect the recession to end in September and begin the long slog back to recovery.

Between now and then, however, the experts believe the GDP will continue to tumble, 5 percent in the first quarter, 1.8 percent in the second. Few of them see the unemployment rate, which usually trails recovery, improving before mid-summer of next year, although they expect the rate of new job loss to slow considerably to 2.6 million in the next year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from December of 2007 to March of this year, 5.1 million jobs have been lost, 3.3 million of those taking place since the beginning of November 2008.