It’s official. On December 1, the National Bureau of Economic Research declared the United States has been in a recession since December 2007. In a statement, CNNMoney.com posted a report on the same day in which White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto was quoted as saying: “The most important things we can do for the economy right now are to return the financial and credit markets to normal, and to continue to make progress in housing, and that’s where we’ll continue to focus. Addressing these areas will do the most right now to return the economy to growth and job creation.”
Nonetheless, several economists said the real concern is there is no end in sight for the downturn. Some suggested that the best case scenario for the economy is that it would reach bottom in the second quarter of 2009.
But Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of Economic Cycle Research Institute, stated at this point, the only solution for the recession is time.
“All the hand waving and real cash that policy makers are throwing at the problem won’t change the fact we’re stuck in this nasty recession,” he said. “The ultimate cure of a recession is letting it run its course.”
Achuthan’s research firm tracks weekly leading economic indicators that are supposed to signal a change in direction for the economy four or five months ahead of time. Those indicators are continuing to fall at a record pace.
Still, he said he’s not worried about the current recession turning into a depression, as many Americans fear. “Even with indicators in a tailspin, this still is only a very severe recession,” he said. “There’s lots of gloom, but we don’t see doom.”
Solution oriented by nature, most industry professionals are choosing to greet 2009 with enthusiasm and confidence. Here, leading manufacturers offer insights on how they feel the industry will fare in the new year.