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US Stocks Down; Economists Warn Lawmakers on Recession


U.S. stocks suffered another drop Friday after a volatile week, amid continuing investor concerns about the U.S. economic situation and signs of a global recession. VOA's Dan Robinson reports, U.S. lawmakers heard testimony about difficulties Americans are having finding jobs in the weakened economy, as well as new warnings about recession:

Trading on Wall Street was in negative territory throughout the day following declines in Asian and European markets.

Analysts attributed global point losses to concerns that a worldwide downturn will hurt corporate profits.

After earlier drops in European markets of between four and six percent, and on Asian markets of more than eight percent, the key Dow Jones index ended the day Friday down 312 points.

This week, the U.S. economy has been shaken by new data on increasing home foreclosures, although one key indicator on home resales was up more than five percent in September from the previous month.

Although the U.S. Congress is formally not in session, a congressional committee heard testimony about job losses, in which ten million Americans are unemployed, including two million for more than six months.

"There is a realization that recession is setting in and that is likely to be long, it is likely to be deep, and it is going to be global," said Democratic Congressman George Miller, who chairs the House Labor Committee.

The session included testimony from one unemployed American, Dana Stevens of New Jersey. "We have used up almost all of our savings just to continue to pay the mortgage. We have just enough savings left to scrape by on our December payment. After that, I don't know what we will do if I can't find a job."

Ron Blackwell, chief economist for the U.S. trade federation AFL-CIO, and economics professor Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, warned of recession and its impact on the U.S. economy:

"BLACKWELL: In my judgment we are clearly in the early stages of a potentially very serious recession, that will likely be as deep as anything we have experienced in a generation, last longer than most, and one which is rapidly becoming global in scope.

POLLIN: It is imperative to take action now to combat what is quickly metastasizing into a general economic crisis off of the financial crisis, that is a general crisis with respect to jobs, private business."

President Bush has invited leaders of wealthy nations and the heads of major developing economies to a summit next month that will focus on the global financial crisis.

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